Pregnant and Constipated? A Plant-Based Diet May Help!

Are you are expecting a baby? Congratulations, what an exciting time! However, being pregnant has its own set of accompanying minor ailments like nausea, backache and constipation.

Although some of these complaints subside as the pregnancy progresses, constipation is one condition, that may be present throughout the pregnancy. 


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Well, constipation is common during pregnancy and if you do not eat animals, you actually stand a better chance of curing your issue than those who consume meat. This is because our digestive tract is not actually made to digest meat; it is long and bumpy to allow better absorption of nutrients. At the same time food such as meat can take long time to digest itself.

Reasons for the constipation during pregnancy:

1)  Your growing uterus applies pressure on your rectum.

2)  Progesterone, a hormone secreted during pregnancy, causes relaxation of the muscles of    your gastrointestinal tract, hence bowel movements are slower than before.

3)  The body secretes less amount of hormone Motilin, which helps in bowel movement.

4)  Iron and vitamin supplements usually taken during pregnancy are notorious for constipation.

How can plant-based diet help?

When you eat a lot of fiber, your body can fully digest all your food within 18 hours, whereas without fiber in the diet, it takes three days to digest. There is absolutely no fiber in meat, fish, dairy, eggs, chicken, or any other animal products. Fiber only comes from plant products. Therefore, it is prudent to add a lot of vegetables and fruits in your diet. 

So here are some remedies to combat constipation:

  • Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens. 
  • Stay away from refined and processed foods like things made with white flour. If you are absolutely having a craving for cookies, cake, brownies, cupcakes, breads, or anything of the sort, try to make some with entirely whole grains and unprocessed sugars. 
  • Drink plenty of water, around 8 to 10 glasses per day. If you increase your fiber intake but do not increase your water intake, the fiber will basically bunch up in your intestines and get stuck. Water helps things move along.
  • A diet high in fiber helps prevention constipation. It also supplies pregnant women with vitamins and antioxidants. Pregnant women should try to consume 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber each day to stay regular and healthy.
  • Try cutting up some raspberries, apples, bananas, figs, and strawberries for a refreshing fruit salad. Or roast some sweet corn, Brussels sprouts, and carrots for a delightful side dish. If you are eating a salad try using oils for the dressing, since it may help to grease the digestive tract.
  • Ensure that you walk or do light exercises at least 30 minutes in a day. This helps to move your bowels.
  • Try a tablespoon of wheat bran and/or ground flax seeds everyday as a natural remedy.
  • Do not strain while using toilet. Do not sit for longer time. This may give rise to another potential complication during pregnancy – hemorrhoids.
  • Before you got pregnant, you may have consumed laxatives to ease constipation, however, some of these medicines are not safe during pregnancy. Hence do consult your physician to provide you with the safe medication.

To conclude, constipation in pregnancy is a minor problem, which can be solved easily with adequate dietary and lifestyle changes.


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