One thousand healthy postpartum Israeli women were interviewed on their bowel habit before and during pregnancy. In 54.6% there was no change in the bowel frequency during pregnancy, while 34.4% had an increased and 11% a decreased frequency. An incidence of 4.9% of subjects indicated that they had experienced diarrhea of 2–8 weeks duration in the last trimester. When the series was analysed according to the ethnic backgrounds, it was found that the Arab women tended to be even less constipated than the Jewish ethnic groups. Contrary to the generally accepted view that constipation is frequent in pregnancy, 89% of the women experienced either no change or an increase of bowel frequency during pregnancy, whereas constipation requiring laxative treatment was rare (1.5%).

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