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If you believe the media and Hollywood, pregnancy and birth is one big beautiful rainbow-covered process. Conceiving generally happens without a hitch, pregnancy involves nine months of glowing skin and beatific wonderfulness, and the birth is an easy affair in which nobody gets sweaty, loses sleep or poos themselves.
Spoiler: the real life entry into motherhood is NOTHING LIKE THIS.
For me, pregnancy was a cacophony of unpleasant symptoms. First there was the morning sickness, then there was the bone-crushing exhaustion and finally were the digestive problems. And these are the first of many that you’ll find nobody – nobody – wants to talk about. Oh yes, your mum friends will chat about the frequency, colour and texture of their babies’ poop until the cows come home, but when it comes to what’s going on in their own bodies they’re a closed book.
Not me, though. I’m happy to chatter away about those symptoms none of us want to discuss, those that make us turn an awkward shade of pink. You know the ones I mean…
Which is why today I’m here with health gurus behind the makers of IMODIUM® to talk digestive health!
I first noticed my digestive system issues with the introduction of heartburn in my third trimester. I remember it clearly, having never experienced heartburn before, one evening I literally thought my body was on fire and so panic-Googled “what happens when there are flames in your chest and throat?”
The piles quickly followed – oh! The piles. I never knew pregnancy could cause piles (yeah, I reckon I was living under a rock too) and so this came as a big shock near the end of my third trimester. I mean, you think you know how it feels to be uncomfortable? GET PILES.
My piles have persisted ever since my first pregnancy – woah! That’s more than 7 years ago – and they came back with a vengeance when Hux was cooking in my belly, too. I’m not surprised when I think about it: your guts are shifted around an incredible amount when there’s a baby inside you, so no wonder they start misbehaving.
I also noticed an increase in my IBS symptoms with pregnancy and for me the effects have been long-lasting.
I have increased bloating (yay) and otherwise have a very sensitive gut, usually flaring up when I fly, drink water in a foreign country, eat spicy food or drink alcohol (so all the good things in life, eh? ;).
It sounds trivial but my IBS flare-ups can be really troubling at times. I notice that should the germ-riddled kids pass on a tummy bug to me my symptoms always last longer than theirs, and will include such treats as cramps and diarrhoea. I’m so much more sensitive to what I eat and drink now too, and really have to work hard to keep my symptoms under control.
There are ways to manage this naturally, like limiting the amount of delicious bread I eat, cutting down on booze and always keeping hydrated. But still, it’s not nice to have to suffer through digestive problems alongside everything else in life.
There are a number of over-the-counter medications that can help ease your symptoms of IBS, and IMODIUM® have a great website that offers advice and reassurance from others who are going through the same problems (there are probably more of us than you think!). Their tagline is ‘it takes guts to talk about digestive health’ and I quite agree; it’s one of the most taboo subjects of all so we mustn’t forget we’re not alone in this.
Like mental health, digestive health is one of the most important things to discuss when it comes to our bodies. With a taboo subject like this our experiences can leave us feeling isolated and lonely, but remember we’re all humans underneath.
Imodium Instants for diarrhoea relief, contains loperamide. Always read the label.