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  • Writer's pictureClaire Hitchen

5 ways to tackle gut issues when you're pregnant - from a prenatal nutritionist

All those pregnancy hormones, as well as the physical pressure of your growing baby, means lots of us struggle with tummy troubles during pregnancy - especially if you already had IBS.


Some women usually dealing with diarrhoea find their symptoms actually improve when they're pregnant. But for others, especially if you often have constipation, chances are you could be feeling even more bunged up.


That's because as your levels of the hormone progesterone go up, it can slow your digestive system down. This leaves lots of pregnant women feeling more bloated, gassy and constipated.


So if you're having tummy troubles, here are 5 things you can try.


1. Eat kiwi and poop-friendly P fruits.

fruit in a bowl of granola

Prunes, plums, pears, pineapple. Pregnant or not, 2 kiwis a day have been shown to help combat constipation. Plus they're packed with fibre, vitamin C and other important nutrients. And yes pineapple is safe in pregnancy!





2. If you're constipated, try psyllium husk

woman looking at a box with supplements

All you need to do is mix some psyllium husk powder with a glass of water and drink it after breakfast or dinner, and leave a few hours between taking psyllium and any medication or supplements. It essentially works by bulking up your poo, making it softer and easier to move through. It's generally considered safe if you're pregnant but always double check any supplements with your healthcare team.



3. Check your prenatal supplements. 

bottle of supplement

You do need significantly more iron during pregnancy, which is why most pregnancy multivitamins have high amounts of iron. But high doses of iron, especially the cheap forms in a lot of supplements, can cause side effects like constipation and stomach pain. 


Taking iron in a specific form called ferrous bisglycinate instead tends to be much easier on the gut. It's also a good idea to take iron supplements with a meal.


If you can, get your iron levels checked with a blood test to see how much you might actually need to supplement.


4. Stay hydrated. 

Glass of water with lemon and ice

Your body needs more fluids during pregnancy, so make sure you're drinking enough that your wee is pale. Drinking plenty of water will help the fibre in your diet and the psyllium work its magic too, without making you more bunged up.


Coconut water is great for hydration and replacing those electrolytes if you're getting diarrhoea or morning sickness too!



5. Don't start doing low FODMAP



Bowl of fruit and vegetables

If you're already following a low FODMAP diet, don't do it alone.


Your body needs more of pretty much every nutrient when you're pregnant, so a strict low FODMAP diet where you cut out lots of foods isn't recommended in pregnancy, because we don't want to risk nutrient deficiencies.



Looking for more personalised support for your pregnancy? Book a free discovery call to find out how I can help.

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