Fiber and Your Pregnancy Diet

Fiber is an important part of a healthy pregnancy diet. In addition to keeping your digestive system moving smoothly, new research shows that fiber may also play a role in preventing gestational diabetes. Fiber is also important for energy that lasts, and keeping you full to prevent mindless snacking.

Fiber and Constipation

One of the most common complaints of pregnant women is constipation. Many factors during pregnancy can lead to problems with constipation, but lack of fiber in the diet is a major one. Increasing your fiber intake, along with drinking plenty of fluids can help alleviate constipation.

Fiber and Gestational Diabetes

Occurring only during pregnancy, gestational diabetes affects about 5% of pregnant women. A 2006 study indicated that women with a higher intake of fiber have a lower chance of gestational diabetes. For every 10 grams of fiber increase the odds of gestational diabetes dropped by 26%. Although more research is needed on the role of fiber in gestational diabetes, it’s another good argument for increased fiber in your pregnancy diet.

Fiber for Sustained Energy

High fiber foods take longer to break down in your system. They will keep you full longer, and provide sustained energy rather than a quick peak of energy that is soon gone. This is especially important during pregnancy when you may be feeling tired and run down already. Sustaining your body with high fiber foods will help to keep you going.

How to Get Enough Fiber

For every 1000 calories in your diet, you should aim to consume 14 grams of fiber. During pregnancy, the average woman should get 25-30 grams of fiber every day. Fortunately, with a balanced diet and a few changes you can up your fiber intake easily.

Many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber, including apples, pears, prunes and leafy greens including collard greens, spinach and kale. You can also increase your fiber intake by switching to whole grains in your bread and pasta, as well as choosing brown rice over white. Beans are also a great source of fiber. When choosing bread, look for a loaf that provides at least 4 grams of fiber per serving – two slices of toast will give you 8 grams of fiber. Look for whole grain cereals as well to provide more fiber.

There are many products on the shelves today that offer added fiber, but use caution as some of them also have added sugar and other things you don’t need in your diet. Look to get the fiber you need from more natural sources – these foods will provide you with many of the vitamins and minerals you need at the same time.

If you are concerned that you are not getting enough fiber in your diet, or you are still suffering from constipation, talk to your doctor. You might need a fiber supplement, or other changes to your diet or supplements you are taking to help reduce constipation. Eating enough fiber is important even if you haven’t had any problems with constipation, as it will also act as a preventative measure. There is no reason to wait until the problem starts to make the appropriate changes in your diet!

Many people don’t get enough fiber in their diet, but during pregnancy it is especially important to make sure you make the right food choices. With a number of benefits for both you and baby, fiber is a must have for proper prenatal nutrition.

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