Fibre Rich Foods For Pregnancy

Fibre Rich Foods For Pregnancy

Fibre is an important nutrient for pregnancy. Why? Including fibre rich foods for pregnancy can benefit you for various reasons. Fibre helps to keep you feeling full longer which may help manage nausea or hunger. Fibre can help to manage your blood sugars, especially important if you have gestational diabetes. It can also help to regulate your gut health to avoid constipation- a common concern during pregnancy.

Studies show that constipation affects one quarter of women during pregnancy (1). Constipation is classified as having fewer than 3 bowel movements per week. It may also include having difficulty passing bowel movements, inability to evacuate stool completely, or hard pebble-like stool (2).

Fibre Rich Food For Pregnancy

Why does constipation occur during pregnancy?

Changes in hormones: An increase in the hormone progesterone causes the muscles in the intestines to relax. This can lead to constipation through the slower motility in the gut.

Iron supplements: During pregnancy, iron needs jump to 27 mg per day which can be difficult to reach from diet. Because of the increased iron needs, it is recommended to include a prenatal multivitamin with 16-20 mg of iron in it (3). A common side effect from taking iron supplements is constipation. 

Diet & lifestyle: Pregnancy can bring with it side effects such as nausea, fatigue, food aversions and morning sickness. All of these symptoms can impact your diet and lifestyle. Not getting enough fibre, fluid or movement can all contribute to constipation.

Constipation is unpleasant and can impact the pelvic floor, cause hemorrhoids or fissures, and impact overall gut health. 

What is the importance of fibre rich foods for pregnancy? 

Including enough fibre can help to make stool easier to pass. During pregnancy, aim to include 28g of fibre per day (4).

Fibre rich foods for pregnancy can include:

  • fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils

7 fibre rich foods for pregnancy

  1. Ground Flaxseed (2 tbsp = 4 g of fibre): Use ground flaxseed in smoothies, yogurt parfaits, or add them to your baked good recipes. 
  2. Pumpkin Seeds (¼ cup = 2 g of fibre): Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on oatmeal, salads, trail mixes or yogurt. 
  3. Avocado (¼ avocado provides 2.3 g of fibre): Mash avocado for guacamole, or add to salads, toast, or smoothies.
  4. Blueberries (½ cup provides 3 g of fibre): Use in smoothies, or sprinkled on cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal.
  5. Green Peas (½ cup provides 4 g of fibre): Add to rice or pasta dishes, or serve with butter. Frozen peas are just as nutritious as fresh, so keep them in your freezer as a convenient go-to option.
  6. Sprouted Grain Bread (1 slice = 4 g of fibre): A quick morning breakfast with eggs or peanut butter, or to top with tuna and cheese for a quick open faced tuna melt sandwich. 
  7. Pear (1 medium = 5.5 g of fibre): Use as a quick snack or sliced on salads.
  8. Lentils (½ cup cooked lentils = 4.5 g of fibre): Use canned lentils in place of ground meat for a quick and easy taco night, or in soups or salads. 

What else can you do to manage constipation during pregnancy? 

Be sure to drink enough fluid to help balance out the fibre by aiming for 8 or more cups of water per day. If you are struggling to include water into your diet, try adding a squeeze of lemon or sparkling water.

Finding the right health care professionals like pelvic floor physiotherapists and dietitians can be important parts of your prenatal care. Be sure to also speak with your doctor or pharmacist if constipation continues to be a problem during your pregnancy.

If you are struggling to manage your diet during your pregnancy, book your free discovery call to see how I can support you HERE. 



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