Food Safety During Pregnancy
You may think that fibre is boring or that it’s not something you really need to think about. This is simply not the case! We’re here to guide you through the world of fibre with its array of food options and its importance to your health during pregnancy.
Before you read about the benefits of fibre, let’s dive into what fibre is and where you can get this important nutrient.
What is Fibre?
Did you know that there are 2 types of dietary fibre?
The two types of fibre include insoluble fibre and soluble fibre. Insoluble means it does not dissolve in water, or your digestive fluids, whereas soluble fibre does! In total, fibre refers to all parts of plant foods that can’t be digested or absorbed by the body (3). It’s found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Fibre-rich foods typically contain both types of fibre (3).
Insoluble fibre promotes a healthy digestive system. It’s in the skin of vegetables and fruit and also in the bran portion of whole grains (2). This type of fibre stays intact throughout the entire digestive process (3).
Soluble fibre helps slow the digestion of food. It’s in oat bran, barley, psyllium, nuts, seeds, and dried beans and lentils (2). Unlike insoluble fibre, this type of fibre doesn’t stay intact. Therefore, it gets dissolved by water and digestive fluids and is eventually broken down by bacteria in the large intestine (3).
Source of Fibre During Pregnancy
Food labels are a great way to know how much fibre is in a serving of your favourite cereals, snacks, and ingredients. Foods that contain 2-6 grams (g) of fibre are ‘good’ sources of fibre (2). When looking at daily values (DV%) look for foods with at least 10% daily value of fibre per serving.
Sources of fibre include the following foods(4):
- Cooked lentils (1/2 cup = 7.8g of fibre)
- Chickpeas (1/2 cup = 6.3g of fibre)
- Sweet potato with peel (1 medium = 4.8g of fibre)
- Raw raspberries (1/2 cup = 4.0g of fibre)
- Baked potato with peel (1 medium = 3.8g of fibre)
- Canned pumpkin (1/2 cup = 3.6g of fibre)
- Cooked whole wheat spaghetti (1/2 cup = 3.1g of fibre)
- Banana or Orange (1 = 3.1g of fibre)
As you can see, there are many sources of fibre that you may already be eating on a daily basis. Below are a few great recipes with sources of fibre that you should try!
Why is Fibre Important?
High fibre foods like beans, apples, and popcorn help promote a healthy digestive system. Fibre does this by:
- Managing digestive conditions like constipation or diverticulitis (2)
- Lowering your risk of colon cancer (2)
- Increasing gut microbiome diversity (6)
- Lowering risk of glucose intolerance (6)
Fibre also has added benefits such as:
- Lowering your risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes (2)
- Helping you feel full for a longer time (2)
- Lowering your risk of high blood pressure (6)
The Importance of Fibre During Pregnancy
Want to know what the best part is about fibre during pregnancy? It helps with CONSTIPATION! How relieving. With water, fibre is an excellent way to ease the intestinal problem that many pregnant women experience (1). Other intestinal issues that fibre can help with are bloating, haemorrhoids, and anal fissures (1). Non-starchy fibre helps stool soak up more water, improve gut bacteria, and form bulky stools (1). Bulky stools help start the elimination process.
Some examples of non-starchy sources of fibre (5):
- Ground flax seeds
Here you can read more about Constipation During Pregnancy.
Fibre and Your Baby
Your diet during pregnancy can influence the immune system of your developing baby. A study found that a mother’s intake of fibre during pregnancy lowered their baby’s risk of developing celiac disease (4). This study shows that fibre from fruit and berries helps decrease the risk of celiac disease. Fibre from vegetables and cereals do not (4).
How Much Fibre do I Need?
During pregnancy you should aim for 28g of fibre per day (2). However, not everyone’s needs are the same. Some people have digestive problems that don’t allow them to eat certain sources of fibre. In conclusion, you should speak with your doctor, or dietitian, to find out how much fibre and which sources of fibre are right for you!
Final Notes from The Nest
Fibre is truly an amazing nutrient and is so important for everyone! Both insoluble and soluble fibres are beneficial to you and can be found in everyday foods.The goal is to increase your awareness of how fibre during pregnancy is beneficial and how much fibre is in your daily foods.Fibre during pregnancy benefits you by reducing the risk of different health concerns, and by helping with constipation and/or other intestinal issues. Among all of these benefits is the benefit of getting to eat so many delicious foods that have great amounts of fibre!
Article Written by Spencer Wentzell
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- Derbyshire. (2007). The importance of adequate fluid and fibre intake during pregnancy. Nursing Standard, 21(24), 40–43. https://doi.org/10.7748/ns2007.02.21.24.40.c452
- Dieticians of Canada . (n.d.). Food Sources of Fibre. PEN. Retrieved February 9, 2022, from https://www.pennutrition.com/KnowledgePathway.aspx?kpid=674&trid=29084&trcatid=467.
- Huizen, J. (2017, August 31). Soluble and insoluble fiber: Differences and benefits. Medical News Today. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319176#what-are-the-benefits-of-fiber
- Lund-Blix, Tapia, G., Mårild, K., Brantsæter, A. L., Eggesbø, M., Mandal, S., Stene, L. C., & Størdal, K. (2020). Maternal fibre and gluten intake during pregnancy and risk of childhood celiac disease: the MoBa study. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 16439–. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73244-4
- McGrane, K. (2019, November 25). 14 healthy high fiber, low Carb Foods. Healthline. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/high-fiber-low-carb-foods
- Pretorius, R. A., & Palmer, D. J. (2020). High-Fiber Diet during Pregnancy Characterized by More Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. Nutrients, 13(1), 35. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010035