Nutrition · Pregnancy

Pregnancy & constipation – 6 tips to increase your fibre

Expectant parent, one hand holding apple, one hand holding belly

If you’re suffering from constipation in your pregnancy, you’re not alone.  Most pregnant women will struggle with constipation (or hard stools that are difficult to pass) at some point in their pregnancies. It’s a common pregnancy problem; usually caused by some combination of slow digestion, use of iron supplements and the lack of fibre, fluid and activity in your day.  But there is something you can do to help!

But, what foods have fibre?

By adding more fibre, fluid (especially water) and some activity to your day, you’ll likely get some needed relief.  For many women the difficult part is learning how to get more fibre in their diets and, in particular, what foods to choose.  Plus, most pregnant women don’t get anywhere near the recommended 28 grams of fibre a day.

Bonus – By adding more fibre to your diet, you’re also helping your body to control and lower blood cholesterol and to manage blood sugar.

Try these 6 easy tips to get more fibre in your diet:

  1. Choose fruit and vegetables with edible skin (like apples, peaches or potatoes) and eat the skin.  You’ll get about twice the amount of fibre.  For example, if you eat a pear with the skin, you’ll get about five grams of fibre.  If you peel the pear (to take away the skin) you’ll only get about two grams.
    Fibre rich food, berries, pregnant woman, constipation relief
  2. Add berries (blueberries, strawberries or blackberries) to your diet.  Have them as snacks or mixed with yogurt or cereal.  One handful of berries gives you about three grams of fibre.
  3. Go meatless and choose beans and lentils for protein instead of meat.  Add them to salads or soups, mix them with brown rice or quinoa, or try them in dips like hummus.  One handful of cooked beans or lentils has at least six grams of fibre.
  4. Choose whole (or less processed) grains instead of highly processed grains.  Look for stone-ground whole grain breads, and 100% whole wheat pastas.  Choose brown, black or wild rice, barley, quinoa, wheat berries and steel-cut oats.  Less processed grains are much higher in fibre.  In fact, processed grains like enriched white bread and white rice have no fibre at all.
  5. Replace the butter on your toast with avocado.  Avocado is a healthy source of fat, but is also a very high source of fibre.  A half a medium avocado has about seven grams of fibre.  Try it with tomato in a salad or use it in place of the mayo on your next sandwich.
  6. Pack a handful of nuts or seeds for your next snack.Fibre rich food, nuts and seeds, pregnancy, constipation relief
    You can also try sesame or sunflower seeds on your next salad.  A serving (about ¼ cup or 60 ml) of nuts and seeds can provide up to four grams of fibre.  For such a small amount of food, you get a good size portion of fibre.

Remember to add fibre to your diet slowly.  If you add too much, too fast, you’ll end up feeling very gassy, uncomfortable and bloated.  You also need to ensure you’re well hydrated.  Increasing fibre without increasing fluid will likely only make you more constipated.  You need the fluid to help you digest, move and use the extra fibre.  Also don’t forget to get active and move each day!  It can be as simple as going for a walk.

Have you tried any of these tips to get more fibre?  What has worked for you?

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