Fibre During Pregnancy – Benefits and Food Sources
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- What Is Fibre?
- What Are the Types of Fibre?
- How Much Fibre Do You Need While Pregnant?
- Benefits of Eating High-Fibre Foods During Pregnancy
- What Are the Effects of Consuming Excessive Fibre During Pregnancy?
- Fibre-Rich Food Options for Pregnant Women
- Instant High-Fibre Recipes
- How to Add Fibre to Your Pregnancy Diet?
- Other Things to Consider
Times are changing and for good! We’re now seeing equal importance being given to the to-be-mother’s health and rightly so. If mama is healthy, then the baby is healthy! Pregnant women need to keep this in mind and make sure to maintain a healthy diet. There are many hormonal changes that take place in a woman’s body, and having problems with the digestive system is quite common. Many pregnant women suffer from constipation, haemorrhoids, and diarrhoea. Having fibre-rich foods during pregnancy keeps these at bay, or keeps them to a minimum.
What Is Fibre?
Fibre is found only in plants, and it is not something that can actually be digested by the human body. We do not gain any nutrients from it, but it does provide an important function in the body. Having enough fibre in your diet ensures a healthy and well-functioning digestive system, as it helps the body remove waste properly. Another name by which fibre is known is roughage.
The only side effect of a diet rich in fibre is that you may pass a bit more gas than you usually would. This is because, though our bodies generally cannot digest fibre, the bacteria inside the colon and intestine can digest it to an extent.
What Are the Types of Fibre?
There are two types of fibres:
1. Insoluble Fibres
This type of fibre acts as a natural laxative, and it helps in faster and easier waste movement through the digestive tract. It softens the stool and prevents constipation. It can be found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and dried peas.
2. Soluble Fibres
This type of fibre helps to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Soluble fibres can be found in dried peas and beans, fruits, vegetables, barley, and oats.
How Much Fibre Do You Need While Pregnant?
There are immense benefits to consuming adequate fibre during pregnancy. Dietary fibre helps by keeping you satisfied and feeling full, keeping blood sugar levels in control, preventing constipation, and more. Keeping all these benefits in mind, pregnant women should make sure that they try including at least 25 to 30 grams of fibre in their daily diet. Also, do check with your doctor if you are meeting you’re daily fibre requirements.
Benefits of Eating High-Fibre Foods During Pregnancy
A hormone called progesterone, which is produced by the ovaries during pregnancy, relaxes the stomach muscles and slows digestion. Adding fibre to your diet can make all the difference here, as it helps to curb irregular digestion and bowel movements. Here are some other ways that fibre is good for you during your pregnancy:
Helps keep pregnancy weight under control: As high-fibre foods keep you fuller for longer and do not contain too many calories, they are a great way to help you manage your pregnancy weight.
Helps to prevent constipation: Having the recommended amount of fibre in your diet will prevent you from becoming constipated, which is a problem faced by most pregnant women.
Helps regulate blood sugar: Fibre slows the digestion of food, and this prevents your blood sugar from rising too fast.
Helps reduce the risk of heart problems: Fibres help to trap cholesterol-rich bile acids in the digestive system, resulting in the body being unable to absorb cholesterol.
What Are the Effects of Consuming Excessive Fibre During Pregnancy?
High-fibre foods are important for your health during pregnancy. But consuming excessive fibre too quickly can lead to the following problems:
1. Gas and Bloating
This happens especially if you quickly try to increase your fibre intake. These uncomfortable gastrointestinal effects can be avoided by slowly and gradually increasing fibre content.
This happens especially if you’re dehydrated and increase fibre content too quickly. As fibre absorbs the water in the intestines, make sure you drink enough water to prevent constipation.
3. Nutritional Deficiency
Foods that are rich in fibre are also low in calories. That’s why too much reliance on fibrous foods will make you feel fuller and you won’t feel the need to eat other nutritious and high-calorie foods leading to nutritional deficiencies.
Fibre-Rich Food Options for Pregnant Women
In order to avoid constipation and other problems that a faulty digestive tract can cause, add more fibre-rich foods to your meals, and notice the difference it makes to your system. Here are some fibre-rich foods for pregnancy:
1. Fibre-rich Vegetables
The following fibre-rich vegetables can be your best buddy during pregnancy:
- Green Peas
- Bell peppers
- Green leafy vegetables
- Okra (Lady’s finger)
2. Fibre-rich Fruits
Following are the fibre-rich fruits. Try to eat 5 or more servings of these daily.
3. Fibre-rich Grains and Cereals
You must surely be adding two or more of these to your current diet. Do experiment with the others too!
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grains
- Wild Rice
4. Fibre-rich Legumes and Nuts
Add these to your diet to increase your fibre intake.
- Lime Beans
- French Beans
- Black Beans
The above high-fibre foods list for constipation while pregnant will make sure you’re comfortable during this phase.
Instant High-Fibre Recipes
Here are some easy and tasty high-fibre recipes that won’t take you long to make:
1. Fruit Shake With Nuts
A milk or yoghurt-based shake made with fresh fruits and nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pistachios is the perfect beverage! Choose fibre-rich fruits like mango, apple, or berries. A fruit and nut shake can be whipped up quickly in a blender, and makes for a super healthy drink at breakfast, or as a mid-day snack. Wash the fruits well before using.
2. Carrot Sticks With Hummus
This classic dish is packed with nutrition and fibre. If you can make the hummus at home from scratch, that will be perfect! The chickpeas and carrots are fibre-rich, and the accompanying spices make this recipe simple yet scrumptious, and an absolute delight to snack on. Make sure to wash the carrots well, and slice them as thick or thin as you like.
3. Orange, Lettuce, and Spinach Salad
This vibrant salad will appeal to your eyes and taste buds as well. This salad which is high in fibre will also meet your nutritional requirements in terms of Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Peel the orange and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Shred the lettuce and spinach leaves, and mix all of these in a big bowl. Make sure to squeeze a dash of lemon juice before serving!
4. Stuffed Grated Carrot Pancakes
These healthy pancakes are loaded with nutrients are are highly satisfying too. The wheat flour pancakes laced with cinnamon are the perfect quick-snacking option during pregnancy. All you have to do is grate the pancakes and make a batter with wheat flour, grated carrots, and water. Heat a pan and gradually add the batter to form fluffy pancakes.
How to Add Fibre to Your Pregnancy Diet?
The following are the ways in which you can increase the fibre content in your diet during pregnancy:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Try adding legumes to salads and soups
- Whenever you’re hungry, snack on nuts and dried fruits
- Begin your day with a high-fibre breakfast cereal
Other Things to Consider
Keep the following points in mind when consuming fibre:
- As you increase the amount of fibre you consume during pregnancy, it becomes very important for you to drink a lot of fluids as well, as it helps in keeping your digestive system working well, and also keeps you hydrated. The recommended amount of fluids you should be drinking is ten to twelve cups.
- Coconut water is especially beneficial to pregnant women, as it contains many essential nutrients, dietary fibre, and lauric acid, which help in protecting the body from infections.
- The high-fibre content of a plant-based diet is the healthiest option for pregnant women, as it contains less toxic waste than animal products. Plant fibre ensures correct bacterial population in the gut.
- It is also advised that pregnant women stay away from soybeans or any soy products, as they are most often genetically engineered.
1. Can Pregnant Women Take Fibre Supplements?
Yes, it is okay to consume fibre supplements during pregnancy to keep constipation at bay. However, do so only after consulting your healthcare provider.
2. Is It Safe to Take Fibre Gummies in Pregnancy?
Fibre gummies may have ingredients that are not safe to consume during pregnancy. Please check with your doctor before consuming fibre gummies. Also, it is ideal to get your fibre intake from vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc.
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful times in a woman’s life. Most women anticipate it with a lot of joy. But, in order for you to truly enjoy your pregnancy while knowing that you are doing the best for your baby, you must ensure that you are maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. After all, you are eating for two now. Remember to have a more plant-based diet and drink a lot of fluids, in order to keep your body functioning at the best level it possibly can, for you and your baby.
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