Constipation is a commonly reported symptom in pregnancy, and up there with one of the most uncomfortable, especially if you were regular before you were pregnant.
Constipation in pregnancy can be due to an array of factors which may include: a shift in hormones, less moving around, changes in eating (especially if you’ve been nauseous!) and supplemental iron (often found in prenatal supplements!)
What you eat (and drink) can help manage this uncomfortable symptom in pregnancy. Here’s the low-down on what you can do to help get those bowels moving:
Foods that contain the whole grain, such as rolled oats, oat or wheat bran, wholegrain bread, brown rice and wholegrain pasta are just a few examples. These foods are rich in dietary fibre (and lots of other important nutrients too, like B vitamins), these can help you reach your fibre target of 25 grams per day.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds, of any kind, are another important source of fibre and, bonus, it is also important to expose your baby to allergens during pregnancy. Incorporate a small handful of a variety of nuts and seeds across your day, add them to your breakfast cereal or oats, turn it into a trail mix with some dried fruit or sprinkle over your salad for an extra boost of fibre.
Fruit, packed with fibre, fluid and vitamins and minerals, 2 servings per day can help with waking up your bowels. Pick fruits starting with the letter “p”, think prunes, pears, plums, peaches, papaya, pineapple they can all help with another p-word… These can help draw water into the bowels and push things through.
Yet another fibre-rich group of foods, aim for a variety and include them at your main meals to reach your daily target of 5 servings per day. Plus, you still need that all-important folate from leafy green veggies, so don’t be shy!
Leave the skin on, as the fibre lives just below it, give them a good wash and scrub and enjoy that extra fibre!
Jazz them up with herbs, spices, extra virgin olive oil and a variety of cooking techniques to pack in more flavour and to avoid getting bored of your veggies.
This cannot be stressed enough! Water, water, water – fluids are critical for healthy bowel motions. It prevents them from being too dry and therefore more difficult to pass. Remember this tip after bub arrives too to help with those first poops after delivery.
Don’t forget movement
Moving your body in gentle ways like a stroll, pregnancy-friendly yoga or pilates can also help with stimulating your bowel and helping to relieve constipation.
Final tip: go slow when increasing your fibre and be sure to match it with an increase in fluids to avoid worsening constipation.
If it is becoming very uncomfortable or these tips don’t seem to work, get in touch with us at The Dietologist and let’s come up with a plan to make your pregnancy a comfortable one!