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Fiber-Rich Foods For Constipation During Pregnancy

by Isabella Adams
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Constipation while pregnant is expected due to the several physical and hormonal changes the body undergoes. It can be uncomfortable, even painful, and you need an effective solution. Read on to find out what causes constipation, the symptoms to look out for, and what to eat to ease bowel movement.

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Photo credit: ninafirsova via Canva.com

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Why Pregnancy Causes Constipation

Pregnancy is known for how it alters the body and requires more self-care; constipation is one such change, with people reporting it in the first two trimesters. So, why are you likely to suffer constipation when pregnant?

  • Hormonal changes – Pregnancy increases progesterone levels, which in turn slows down the digestive system, especially in the intestines, causing constipation.
  • Physical changes – The more your baby grows, the more the uterus expands; this presses on the intestines and constricts bowel movement.
  • Activity changes – You need a lot of rest when pregnant. Considering the rate of physical activity reduces, the digestive system also slows down, causing constipation.
  • Diet changes – Satisfying cravings and altering your diet sometimes means avoiding healthy fiber-rich foods, which is a leading cause of constipation. In addition, this occurrence is a side-effect of taking more iron supplements during pregnancy.
  • Medication – When trying to resolve heartburn when pregnant, you tend to take antacid medication, and that can also lead to constipation.

Common Symptoms of Constipation During Pregnancy

Many complain about constipation when they are pregnant. The first step to resolving it is knowing the symptoms to look out for: here is how to tell.

  • If you have only 3-4 stools in a week
  • If the stool is extremely dry and hard
  • If you have excruciating bowel movements
  • If you have to excessively strain to pass stool
  • If you experience extreme pain in your stomach

High-Fiber Foods For Pregnant Women

After knowing the causes and symptoms of constipation when pregnant, it gets easier to manage and ease your bowel movements. It all starts with altering your diet, eating more fiber-rich foods, and drinking a lot of water. It is advisable to consume at least 28g of fiber every day for a healthy gut. Moreover, adopting a healthy diet doesn’t just aid in alleviating pregnancy-related constipation but can also play a significant role in managing and potentially reducing the risk of postpartum depression. Ensuring a balanced intake of essential nutrients supports overall well-being, both physically and emotionally, during and after pregnancy.

Here are the top high-fiber foods to consume during pregnancy to avoid constipation.

Prunes

Loaded with vitamins, potassium, and 7g of fiber in each fruit, prunes are perfect for your diet when pregnant. You can snack on them, add some to smoothies, or pair them with cheese and nuts.

Kale

Leafy greens are fiber-rich and healthy sources of folate, calcium, and vitamins. A single cup of cooked kale provides 4.7g of fiber in your meals, so consider adding it to your salads, blending it into smoothies, or cooking it as a side dish.

Nuts

Are you a fan of peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia, cashew nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or any other nut? Besides them being tasty and rich sources of proteins and other nutrients, they are also loaded with fiber. While a cup of walnuts contains 8g, a cup of almonds features 18g. You can go for a handful of mixed nuts as a perfect supplement, eating them raw or in salads.

Beans

Beans are fantastic food options during pregnancy, providing folate and other minerals. They are also tasty and come in different types: kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, and many more. For each cup you take, you add up to 15g of fiber to your diet, so consider having beans in stews and salads for all these benefits.

Avocado

Avocados are some of the tastiest additions to any meal, whether you eat them whole, add them on toast, use them for guacamole, or blend them into a smoothie. It helps that it is also rich in minerals like vitamins C and B, contains healthy fat, and contains 17 grams in one medium fruit.

Chia Seeds and Quinoa

Chia seeds and quinoa are superfoods with 10g of fiber for two spoons of chia seeds, apart from zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and all seven amino acids. Quinoa is also a rich source of proteins, magnesium, Vitamin E, manganese, and 5g of fiber for half a cup. You can add these two foods to your baked foods or sprinkle them on yogurt, pudding, and other meals.

Flax Seeds

With 7.7g of fiber for an ounce serving, flax seeds are incredible options to ease your bowel movements. They also contain proteins, antioxidants, manganese, copper, and other minerals. However, remember to consume the seeds in small amounts, sprinkling them on yogurt or adding them to baked goods.

Fresh Pears and Apples

Pears and apples are some of the most popular fruits in the world and make for excellent options for your diet. They feature indigestible fiber, making them perfect for improving your bowel movement. While pears contain 5.1 grams in a medium-sized fruit, there are 4g in an apple. These two can be on-the-go snacks, blended into smoothies, or added to snacks for extra tastiness and crunchiness.

Raspberries and Blackberries

Berries are tasty and healthy fruit options when you are suffering from constipation. The two contain around 4g of fiber in half a cup, besides the high vitamin content. People blend them into smoothies, top them on salads or cereals, or snack on them.

Final Thoughts

You can expect several changes in your body during pregnancy, and one of them is a bowel movement issue. Luckily, there are easy ways to reduce constipation, especially by improving your diet and consuming more high-fiber foods. Consider eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains for a healthy gut and better bowel movement.

Author

  • Isabella Adams

    Isabella is an experienced nutritionist and a passionate freelance writer. She uses her knowledge and experience to write about trending nutrition topics and develop a healthy and joyous relationship with food and the body. Her tips help to make healthier lifestyle choices.

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