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6 ways to manage constipation in pregnancy

What to eat and drink to avoid constipation in pregnancy

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 during pregnancy can be due to 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:

6 ways to manage constipation in pregnancy

Wholegrains

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 a 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.

Fruits

Fruit, packed with fibre, fluid and vitamins and minerals, two servings a 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.

Vegetables

Yet another fibre rich group of foods, aim for a variety and include them at your main meals to reach your daily target of five servings a day. Plus, you still need that all-important folate from leafy green veggies, so don’t be shy!

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.

Water

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 baby 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 increase in fluids to avoid
worsening constipation.

If it is becoming very uncomfortable or these tips don’t seem to work, speak to your health care
provider about managing your constipation and seeking a referral to an Accredited Practising
Dietitian.

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