Errrggghhh Constipation. Everyone said when women get pregnant they glow. No one told you about all the unpleasant side effects right? Constipation can be a common one in pregnancy, your gut slows down to maximize nutrition absorption for the baby, you have loads of hormonal changes, plus that baby is also likely to be pushing up against your bowel, so constipation is a pretty common pregnancy complaint.
There are a number of foods that can help naturally move things along. So first of all think P for Poo- Pears, Prunes, Plums, aPricots (In fact all stone fruit is pretty good, if you are in Oz go buy up before they disappear totally and stew some up and freeze ready to pull out later in winter), Porridge is also awesome. The oats in porridge are an excellent soluble fibre, and you can also add in a teaspoon or two of chia seeds prior to cooking- they swell up with the fluid and in this way turn into a nice gentle gel like fibre- very easy on your gut, and then you can add some cut up pears or plums or a few prunes on top. Perfect for pooing.
Psyllium husk, look at that another p word, is also a great natural soluble fibre supplement suitable for adults, a couple of teaspoons at night stirred through your yoghurt, with some fruit on top can be very helpful for a poo.
Plant Proteins (ok it has nothing to do with the protein component, but just fitted with my P theme) especially lentils, legumes- butter beans, chickpeas, 4 bean mix etc are also an excellent source of soluble fibre and can really help with constipation.
Finally you need to make sure you are having Plenty of cooked veggies, and most importantly Plenty of fluids (at least 9 cups a day if you are pregnant- more in hot weather or for certain activities).
Now if none of that works- talk to your doctor and come in for a visit to your friendly clinical dietitian.
Is this advice good for toddlers and kids- Yes adding in most of these foods can also help toddlers and kids with constipation. But I would not do fibre supplements in little ones unless advised by a health professional after an individual assessment and obviously little kids do not need as much fluid as a pregnant lady! For kids there can be unknown medical conditions or food intolerance behind chronic constipation, so do get some individualized medical advice and input.
Want to know more about pregnancy nutrition? Check out our book ‘Growing Baby Bean- A Complete Guide to Pregnancy Nutrition’ www.pregnancyandpaediatriccollective.com.au