Fiber is important for healthy digestion and bowel
movements during pregnancy. Without a fiber-rich diet
during pregnancy you become vulnerable to intestinal
disorders, particularly constipation. Fiber with almost
zero nutritional value is very vital for your digestive
Did you know
• There are two main types of fiber, soluble
and insoluble. Some foods have both, particularly
• Fiber is the part of the plant that cannot
be digested by human enzymes. Since it is not digested,
it provides no calories or energy.
• What it does provide is bulk which helps move
waste products quickly through the intestinal tract.
Waste products shouldn't stay longer in your system
since it contains harmful bacteria and toxins.
• Fiber fills you up without adding unnecessary
calories. During pregnancy when resisting sugary and
refined foods become especially difficult, this is
• Soluble fibers include most fruits and vegetables.
It has been shown to reduce cholesterol and thereby
minimize the risk of heart disease.
• Insoluble fibers include bran, rice, fruit
peel and nuts – it passes through the intestine unchanged.
• Fiber lessens your chances of developing cancer
of the colon, rectum, endometrium and breast.
• Soluble fiber-rich foods slow down the absorption
of carbohydrates; sugars are slowly released into
the bloodstream. This helps to control blood sugar,
which is especially useful to people with diabetes.
• Both types of fiber require water for processing
so staying well hydrated becomes really necessary.
If you increase your fiber intake then make sure to
increase your water intake as well.
• Increasing physical activity aids with the
speedy elimination of waste. Some exercise helps.
• Eating plenty of fiber and drinking plenty
of water along with some exercise can boost a sluggish
system, which you can be susceptible to during pregnancy.
• You should aim for 20-30 gm of fiber a day.
A good way to tell if you are getting enough fiber
is your stools, which should be large and soft. Frequency
doesn't count as much.
• Too much of a good thing can be bad. Excess
of fiber in the diet can backfire and cause you to
have diarrhea and a loss of nutrients.
• The husk portion of the pysllium is known
for the high-soluble fiber content and it is used
in some over-the-counter laxatives and food. Pysllium
husk has 14 times more soluble fiber than oat bran.
Do not take OTC laxatives without consulting your
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
1. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gummy
substance. The best sources include barley, dried
beans and peas, fruits (like apples, figs, mangoes,
plums and strawberries), lentils, oats, psyllium and
vegetables (like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, sprouts
2. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It
functions to remove unwanted debris. It soaks up water
and expands the bulk of waste products and this makes
stools softer and easier to move through your intestines.
Insoluble fiber prevents constipation and hemorrhoids.
The best sources include bran cereals, brown rice,
corn and popcorn, fruits like apples and pears, vegetables
like spinach, asparagus and okra and 100% whole grain
breads and pastas.
A Diet Change
• Since you have decided to make the change,
go about it gradually. Give your body time to adapt
as you make the switch.
• Adding a lot of fiber to your meals all at
once can result in bloating and flatulence. Increase
your fiber gradually beginning with soluble fiber.
Drink lots of water, more than you think you need
and preferably between meals.
• Build your intake of dried beans, broccoli,
cabbage, bran and other such gassy foods slowly. Give
the bacteria in your digestive tract a chance to adjust
to processing complex carbs.
• The most common cause of fiber discomfort
is wheat bran. If you have problems with one type
of fiber food, try another. Keep your diet as varied
• If you experience problems when making the
switch it is likely due to your previous diet being
high in sugar and fat, which your body has grown accustomed
to. It can take a while to make the change but it
is worth in the long run.
Getting your Fiber Fix
• Start your morning with a high fiber cereal
mixed with regular cereal topped with a fruit.
• Snack on a piece of fruit or dried fruit instead
of drinking juice.
• Drink plenty of water – eight glasses a day.
If there isn't enough water to soak up, fiber can
• Don't peel your potatoes and other fruits
and vegetables. Be sure to wash them well first.
• Go for 100% whole wheat bread, wheat, pasta
• Build meals around beans; add them to salads
and soups as well
• Eat brown rice or quinoa instead of white
• Eat adequate portions of fresh fruits and
vegetables every day.