Prune Juice and Other Dangerously Infantile Advice

My solid day of puking and diarrhea Monday has turned into just a residual case of diarrhea and general sluggishness. It doesn’t usually take me this long to recover from a stomach bug. I’m guessing the baby is to blame for that. Still, it’s a respite from worrying about my otherwise-constant companion: constipation. But I know it’s temporary. It’ll come back.

It has become glaringly obvious to me, after hours of internet-searching to try to find a pregnancy-safe solution to the constipation problem, that there is some unwritten law against giving real, crucial health information to pregnant women. A quick search for “severe constipation” will get you a complete breakdown of the problem and its potential causes, complications, and treatments. But if you search for “severe constipation pregnancy” you get ten thousand articles and forum replies all repeating the same recommendations:

1) Prunes and Prune juice.

2) Fiber

3) Regular Exercise

4) Drink More Water

Thanks for nothing, internet. It appears your question cannot be taken seriously if you are pregnant. The Unwritten Law says you must be treated like a hypochondriac five-year-old. Your health concerns are of no consequence.  There is no such thing as severe constipation during pregnancy. It’s all in your head. Drink some prune juice: you’ll be fine.

Except it’s not true. The problem is not in my head, it is not benign, and I’ve tried all those useless suggestions already. They didn’t help. Instead, earlier this month I  had the most frightening, most revolting, most not-benign digestive experience of my life: my very first fecal impaction. I will not describe this to you. Look it up on Wikipedia. This is what happens when pregnant ladies cannot get real information on the real health problems that are really affecting us. The problem with being treated like a five-year-old when you’re an adult is…  you’re not five anymore. Your parents are not responsible for your health anymore: you are.

But there’s an iron wall between information about health problems, and information about health problems that coincide with, or are caused by, pregnancy. I can find tons of useful information about severe constipation, but not about which treatments and preventive measures are safe to use while pregnant– or what the exact risks are if they are not totally safe. Why?  Is it because nobody collects information on these things? Why not? You’d think that would be really important!  Is it because everyone is covering their asses to avoid liability if your kid is damaged? If so, they are covering their asses so tightly they probably haven’t pooped in years.

Meanwhile, I still can’t find the information I need, and I’m terrified of a repeat fecal impaction. Every time I see the stupid prune juice advice now, all I want to do is claw the author’s face off. Severe constipation isn’t just something to be waved off like that: people die from that shit. We need information, not prune juice.

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