Dietary fiber, with a recommended daily amount for pregnant women of 28 g, is the part of plant that the digestive system cannot break down. However, rather than simply building up in, and clogging your system, fiber moves with relative ease through the digestive tract, and helps to ensure that all is running smoothly. Dietary fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble:
Types of dietary fiber
- Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel, which helps manage cholesterol levels, and deal with high glucose levels and diabetes
- Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, and rather acts as a bit of a plow, making its way through the digestive tract pushing rogue bits of waste through
How does fiber help during pregnancy?
Although fiber is quite important for the digestive health of all men, women, and children, getting enough fiber becomes absolutely essential when you are pregnant. Due to the hormone-slowed digestive system and organ-displacing womb, many pregnant women will experience constipation, which can also lead to hemorrhoids. Consuming lots of fiber can help fight off constipation and keep you regular, which also goes a ways toward preventing hemorrhoids. It also helps control your pregnancy weight gains, keeping them within a healthy level. Fiber can also help clear your colon of the waste products that could be detrimental for your health, whether pregnant or not. Just remember that it’s a good idea to drink a lot of water if you’re eating a lot of fiber.
What are some good sources of fiber?
Dietary fiber comes from a wide range of food groups, including:
- Fruits: Raspberries, bananas, pears, and apples (both with skin on) contain the highest fiber contents out of any fruit. Oranges, strawberries, and figs also have high amounts of fiber
- Grains: Spaghetti, barley and bran flakes are the best types of grain-based foods fiber-wise. Oatmeal, popcorn, and brown rice also contain significant amounts of fiber
- Nuts & legumes: Nuts and legumes have incredibly high amounts of fiber, with the highest in content being split peas, lentils, black beans, and lima beans. Many other kinds of nuts and seeds are also very well-endowed with fiber
- Vegetables: Artichokes, peas, and broccoli contain the highest amounts of fiber out of all the vegetables, though most vegetables have significant amounts, including brussel sprouts, potatoes (skin-on), and carrots
Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
- “Nutrition During Pregnancy: FAQ001.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 4/15/2015. Web.
- Mark Hyman, MD. “The Super Fiber that Controls your Appetite and Blood Sugar.” DrHyman. DrHyman, 4/17/2013. Web.
- Mary M. Murry. “Pregnancy constipation: Seeking relief.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 8/19/2011. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 9/22/2015. Web.