Here’s How Fiber Can Support Your Pregnancy
While it might be an important nutrient for everyone, getting enough fiber during pregnancy is especially crucial for mom and baby. On average, a diet high in fiber supports weight loss, lowers blood pressure, prevents constipation, and lowers your risk of heart disease. Getting enough fiber during pregnancy can help you achieve all these goals and more.
“high-fiber diets in pregnancies helps avoids constipation and hemorrhoids”
For those who are pregnant, their body will undergo dramatic changes to make room for the baby. The body will experience organ displacement as the baby grows larger, which may cause some constipation. It’s estimated that 16-39% of women experience some form of constipation during their pregnancy. A study found that high-fiber diets in pregnancies help avoid constipation and hemorrhoids during this time. So, to relieve any constipation, try some fiber while pregnant, but not too much! Ease into it and drink plenty of fluids along the way.
Although constipation relief is often a quick fix, there are other conditions that can occur during some pregnancies, like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Keep reading to find out why these aren’t great to have and why fiber for pregnant women is so important to help stave them off.
Pregnancy Diabetes and High-Blood Pressure!
If you didn’t know before, there is a specific type of diabetes that occurs only when a person is pregnant. This is called gestational diabetes and occurs within 2% to 10% of pregnancies every year! Usually, this kind of diabetes goes away after the pregnancy, or it may turn into type 2 diabetes if left unmanaged! Fortunately, fiber can help with that. Your body can’t easily break down fiber, helping to prevent your blood sugar from spiking. Fiber can assist with keeping your blood sugar within a healthy range.
Gestational diabetes can lead to various complications for the mother and baby that are crucial to avoid. Along with the increased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, there is also the increased chance your delivery will require a C-section. And for the baby, there are potential complications such as excessive birth weight, preterm birth, an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life, and many more.
Fortunately, if you are planning to get pregnant, you are able to reduce the likelihood of these outcomes before they start! As always, we recommend speaking with your doctor to find the options that best fit you.
To prevent gestational diabetes, make sure you are at a healthy weight before getting pregnant and getting constant physical activity. And remember, consuming fiber during pregnancy is a great way for you to control your weight because it can make you feel full for longer, preventing the desire to snack and overeat!
“What if I’ve already been diagnosed with gestational diabetes?”
Well, it can be managed by checking your blood sugar, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet (this involves a high-fiber diet), getting moderate physical activity, and monitoring your baby’s health with a doctor.
Now, on to the next condition.
Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that causes spikes in a woman’s blood pressure during pregnancy. In fact, 1 out of every 20 pregnancies will experience this condition in the third trimester! The most common cure is delivery, but luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to lower your risk of developing preeclampsia, including:
- Eat a well-balanced diet that is high in fiber
- Drink enough water (6-8 glasses daily)
- Get the recommended amount of rest
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid caffeinated beverages
Preeclampsia comes with a host of potential problems for the mother and unborn child that are critical to prevent whenever possible. These include issues such as:
- Fetal growth restriction
- Premature birth
- Placental abruption
- HELLP hemolysis elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count) syndrome
- Organ damage
- Cardiovascular disease
It’s No Secret, it’s Just Fiber!
“high-fiber diets significantly reduced a pregnancy’s risk of experiencing preeclampsia in their third trimester by 67%!”
As soon as your first trimester, it is recommended to start eating more fiber during pregnancy! The majority of the U.S. population’s fiber consumption is below the recommended standard, so you may not be getting the right amount. As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post, it is recommended that men and women consume 20-38 grams of fiber a day. According to most studies, a high-fiber diet during pregnancy should include this amount of fiber. And believe us, you’ll know when you’ve had enough!
One study found that high-fiber diets significantly reduced a pregnancy’s risk of experiencing preeclampsia in their third trimester by 67%! That’s over half!
Even adding two slices of whole-grain bread into their daily diet was found to reduce the risk by 14%.
The Many Shapes and Forms of Fiber
You may be asking yourself, “How do I get more fiber into my diet?”
Luckily, common foods you know and love, like fruits and vegetables, contain high amounts of fiber. But remember, it’s important to ease your way into fiber during pregnancy, always drink plenty of fluids with your fiber, and follow all your doctor’s recommendations.
Some high-fiber foods include fruits, veggies, beans and legumes, and nuts, but if all these make you sick, you can also try a supplemental fiber powder like Naturlax to help reach your nutritional needs.
At Naturlax, our fiber powders are naturally derived from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant, safe enough for your pregnancies, and still effective. Some studies even recommended natural fiber supplements, like psyllium, for those who are pregnant and struggle to achieve a high-fiber diet.
Pop Quiz! Just Kidding, Let’s Review!
Let’s review what we learned today: Consuming more fiber while pregnant is especially important. Among the benefits fiber already provides, fiber during pregnancy can also help manage gestational diabetes and prevent preeclampsia. Fiber is easy to find in any grocery store! But it’s also easy and effective to try supplemental natural fiber powder.
Enough fiber a day can keep these conditions away!