Should I take laxatives while breastfeeding?

Stimulant laxatives can cause dehydration.

Taking medications, including laxatives, can be a concern for a woman who is breastfeeding. Some of the medications a woman takes can get into breast milk and affect the baby she is breastfeeding. If you think you need laxatives while breastfeeding, do well to see a doctor. In general, however, stool softening laxatives and those that are primarily fiber are often recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Stimulant laxatives may be of more concern.

Natural laxatives are probably the best choice while breastfeeding.

Since the medications you consume can make their way into breast milk, you can consider using natural laxatives as the ideal choice while breastfeeding. For example, there are laxatives that are actually just fiber powder or pills. If you take one of these laxatives while breastfeeding, it is unlikely to harm your baby. The problem with this type of laxative, however, may be that it may not work as quickly as a stimulant laxative, and its slower action may make you uncomfortable if you have a serious case of constipation. Likewise, it may not be as effective in helping you to have a hard, tight bowel movement.

Fiber-based laxatives are generally safe to use while breastfeeding.

Stool softeners, which act to soften hard, difficult-to-pass stools, may be recommended for use while breastfeeding. It is generally considered safer to use stool softening laxatives while breastfeeding than stimulant laxatives. In fact, doctors often prescribe stool softeners for use by pregnant and lactating women. They can contain a variety of ingredients, so you should check that all the ingredients in the stool softener you have chosen are safe to use while breastfeeding. If you’ve been prescribed a stool softener, you can also protect your baby’s health by making sure your doctor knows you’re breastfeeding before taking it.

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It may be best to see a doctor if you feel you need to use laxatives while breastfeeding.

Stimulant laxatives often contain harsh medications that not only help to soften stools, but also stimulate muscle contractions that help push stool out of the body. While these laxatives are generally effective, they may contain ingredients that are unsafe for the breastfeeding baby. They can also cause you to lose a lot of water in the form of loose bowel movements. In some cases, this can lead to dehydration, especially when this happens while breastfeeding. In general, you should avoid stimulant laxatives while breastfeeding unless your doctor has recommended them.

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