Why is dietary fibre important in pregnancy?
For pregnant women, dietary fibre is an essential part of a balanced diet. Find out how much fibre you need for a healthy pregnancy.
Looking after your health is always important, but if you are pregnant, there is a growing life depending on you. It is important to include a wide variety of healthy foods in your diet to meet your nutritional needs and those of your growing baby, however fibre is one nutrient that may pregnant women often don’t get enough of.
Having a healthy intake of dietary fibre can help to:
- Keep your bowel movements regular
- Prevent constipation
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce pregnancy risks such as preeclampsia
How much fibre do I need?
The recommended daily intake of dietary fibre for women of childbearing age is 28g daily.
Types of fibre
There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and helps you to feel full. Soluble fibre can also absorb water, making stools softer and easier to pass which can help with constipation. It has the added benefit of binding with cholesterol, lowering your levels and helping to reduce your risk of heart problems.
Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water, helps move bulk through the intestines and helps to prevent constipation and associated problems such as haemorrhoids.
Many foods contain both types of fibre – you’re probably eating some high-fibre foods without even thinking about it. Here are some sources of soluble and insoluble fibre.
- Oatmeal or oat bran
- Nuts and seeds
- Dried peas
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole grain cereals
- Brown rice
- Wheat bran
It’s important to increase your intake of fibre gradually and remember to drink more water at the same time.