Are Enemas Safe during Pregnancy?
While there are mixed opinions on the safety of enemas during pregnancy, many expecting mothers find themselves tempted to take one during pregnancy. The most common reason is to alleviate constipation. Toward this end, there are many solutions to try before attempting an enema while pregnant. Below, a client explores some of these, including her own answer to constipation while pregnant. Be sure to try these solutions, stool softeners, and glycerin suppositories before resorting to enemas. If you do decide to do an enema, ensure you are in as relaxed a state as possible. Doing the enema during an Epsom salt bath with lavender oil can be the perfect setting.
(Letter from a Client)
I can't recall the number of times that I have googled "are enemas safe during pregnancy?". I have never found a meaningful answer to my question. I found lots of commentary and concerns that enemas can trigger uterine contractions, and therefore are risky during pregnancy. However, there is also research that enemas are safe and can have positive benefits during pregnancy and labor, such as
reducing the risk of C. difficile infection in newborns.
My experience with pregnancy, constipation, uterine contractions and enemas
In my first pregnancy I suffered terribly from constipation. I resorted to frequent use of glycerine suppositories to get my bowel to eliminate. Not a good solution!
When I was pregnant with my second child I again experienced constipation. This time the constipation triggered uterine contractions, once at 25 weeks and again around 30 weeks. I was hospitalized each time as a result of the contractions caused by the constipation. Based on these experiences I do agree that bowel spasms can trigger uterine spasms. My "treatment" was a Panadine Forte -- which unfortunately made me even more constipated. Following the hospital stays I decided to try an at-home enema to prevent the build-up and constipation as well as preventing any further uterine contractions. This approach worked for me.
I read Kristina's book,
Ten Days to Optimal Health, and watched some how-to videos to find out how to do an enema. I was extremely cautious and slow with my enema experimentation. I used comfortably warm water and only allowed a small amount of fluid into my bowel at slow intervals so that my bowel could adjust and be completely comfortable with the enema. I did the enemas while soaking in an Epsom salt bath and I quickly felt very relaxed doing enemas. The enemas gave me immense relief and helped me to avoid constipation. I did not have any further uterine contractions and my baby was born at full term, with a wonderful natural birth.
How can I have a pregnancy without constipation?
My question is now, how can I have another child without suffering from the problems caused by poor elimination and inadequate detoxification?
A bit more about my background: I have suffered from constipation for years and years. I adopted a whole foods diet, following the principles of
Weston A. Price about 4 years ago. The diet change rapidly improved my immunity and the recurring thrush, viral, throat infections and urinary tract infections that I had suffered from for years disappeared. Unfortunately the diet change did not solve my constipation issues.
With much experimentation I found that I can live free from constipation by eating liberal amounts of saturated fats (fermented cod liver oil, coconut oil, duck and chicken egg yolks, avocado and other fats), including 2 to 3 cups of gelatinous bone broth each day, strictly limiting the amount of cooked protein I eat to around 120 grams per day, eating fresh salads with herbs, avoiding all grains, starches, nuts and seeds, including a liquid magnesium supplement, soaking in Epsom salt and clay baths and getting plenty of exercise.
I no longer need to use enemas to help relieve constipation; the formula above works to get my body eliminating.
We are hoping to have another baby. Recently as part of our preconception care my doctor tested me for MTHFR. I tested positive with two defective genes (I am MTHFR C667T homozygous), which means my body does not metholate effectively. In very simple terms my body is only 10 to 20% effective at detoxifying, instead of 100% effective. Many people suffer symptoms from MTHFR gene mutations without knowing they have a problem. You can be tested for MTHFR through blood tests or through saliva tests (e.g.,
I have been prescribed supplements to help my body to improve methylation, and in addition to the supplements I have started following the recommendations from an MTHFR expert, Dr. Lynch of
One of the tools Dr. Lynch recommends for detoxification and to help MTHFR sufferers is
coffee enemas. I started using enemas again last year to do coffee enemas. I am amazed at the physical difference and calmness I have experienced from regular coffee enemas. They also allow me to make lifestyle and diet changes without suffering from detox symptoms. I have started experimenting with adding geranium to my coffee enemas as it increases glutathione levels. So far I love it. It smells beautiful and makes me feel good.
So, what is the answer to the pregnancy constipation dilemma?
There is no definitive answer, and one person's medicine is another person's poison. No one can make guarantees about what will cause a pregnancy to go smoothly. There may be risks of uterine contractions triggered by bowel spasms. My experience and personal choice would be to use enemas if I need them in a future pregnancy. I feel that the risks of doing an enema at home, in a relaxed state, slowly and peacefully, are very, very low. That said, I would also choose to eat raw egg yolks and raw meat during a pregnancy, which I also consider very low risk (as long as they are sourced from reliable farmers). For some women my "low risk" choices would be seen as very high risk. I think that the dilemma of constipation during pregnancy is a matter of considering your risk appetite, choosing what you are prepared to experiment with and being calm and peaceful in your actions.
A final word about raising babies and children on organic whole foods diets
It is amazingly hard work to source fresh organic whole foods, cook almost everything from scratch, make bone broth, ferment sauerkraut, and cover the enormous cost of eating this way (compared to cheap, processed grain-based foods). It is also very hard work convincing young children that eating bread and cake is bad for their health and will damage their facial and physical development as well as compromise their immunity... and that taking fermented cod liver oil, drinking stock and eating caviar is a good idea! My experience is that it is worth it. It is early days for me as my children are still young, and I certainly do not have all of the answers. So far I feel that the results are worth the effort. My youngest has never been sick, he has beautiful big eyes, big white teeth, a gorgeous smile and a very sharp mind. My eldest has never been sick, but has had some dental decay (which is a form of illness and compromised immunity). My kids exist in the world, have contact with school kids and exposure to others. Their immunity seems strong. I don't believe they would be as they are if they were raised on a diet which included processed foods, processed sugar and processed grains. I am grateful for what I have learned, for the wisdom shared by Weston A. Price, Kristina Amelong, and other authors, and I pray each day that my children, my husband and I continue to be blessed with health."