Latest posts by Dr. Jennifer Salib Huber (see all)
Pregnant and experiencing a change in bowel habits? Just another one of the many wonderful “woes” of pregnancy!
Constipation is a frequent complaint amongst pregnant women, even for those who don’t typically experience it! You can thank progesterone for that as it tends to
slow everything down a bit!
Laxatives may be contraindicated in pregnancy (especially in the 1st trimester), so finding ways to “get things moving” can be a challenge. I like to focus on increasing soluble and insoluble fiber first, so here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know about these two types of fiber, and how to incorporate them into you diet!
Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber
Think of soluble fiber like a sponge – it holds water, and gives stool shape and moisture. Insoluble fibers are like “pipe cleaners”, helping to move things along the digestive tract. We need both to keep things regular, and the recommend minimum amount is 25 grams per day. Many struggle to get this amount before pregnancy, so it may require a concerted effort to get these foods in if you’re experiencing any nausea or other digestive complaints. An ND can discuss supplemental fiber options if needed.
Most “high fiber” foods have a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, but some food are higher in one than the other.
Example of foods that are high in soluble fiber include:
Examples of food that are high in insoluble fiber include:
But, as I said, most contain a combination of both. So, examples of high fiber meals could include:
- Cilantro lime black bean salad
- Wheat bran muffins with apples and walnuts
- Edamame dip made with soybeans
- Squash Soup with Red Lentils
- Quinoa salad with beans and grated carrots
- Chia seed pudding
Still constipated? Talk to your ND about other safe alternative to laxatives.