Food aversions and How to avoid Constipation in Pregnancy
We can blame it on the hormones as much as we wants, but it still very tough
It is Murphy’s law that just when you are able to get food into your body without having it come back up, that you suddenly find you can not get the food out of your body. Nearly half of all the women who are pregnant suffer from constipation during pregnancy. As with all symptoms of pregnancy there is a reason for constipation. When you are pregnant your body creates progesterone which in turns relaxes the muscles of the bowels and causes your digestive tracks to work much slower. Your digestive track works slower to make sure your body absorbs the nutrients from your food for your baby. This can create constipation, which if it not kept under control, can lead to hemorrhoids.
There are some ways you can help avoid constipation throughout your pregnancy.
Make sure you included plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber absorbs water and can help to soften your stools and speed their passage. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like whole grain cereal and oatmeal. Instead of eating white bread with your sandwiches, eat whole grain breads. Add some oat bran to your cereals or yogurt.
Fresh fruits are also an excellent way to get your fiber in. Melons and plums have a high amount of fiber in them as wells as dried fruits like figs, raisins, apricots and of course the well known favorite prunes. Prunes and prune juice have a like laxative effect and will help keep things moving properly in your body. Aim to eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. You can tell you are getting enough fiber if your stools are large and soft and you aren’t straining to pass them. Keep in mind though that too much fiber can lead to diarrhea which can lead to dehydration so do not over do the fiber in your diet.
Also, drinking plenty of fluid will help you combat constipation. Fluids help keep digestive products moving through your system so it is very important for you to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. Keeping up with your fluids is important especially if you are increasing your intake of fiber. Your body needs to water to soak up the fiber otherwise it can cause more constipation.
Drink enough water, but not during meals. Drink enough water (at least 2 L daily) but don’t drink water or other beverages during meals, as this can dilute your digestive enzymes. Your body absorbs water from the large intestine, so if you don’t drink enough, your stool will become dry and hard, leading to constipation.
Also, make sure you are eating your yogurt if you can. Yogurt has a bacteria called acidophilus that helps stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better.
Look at your prenatal. Some of the prenatal that women take contain a lot of iron and iron can play a big part in constipation. Talk to your doctor to see if you can switch for a while to a different prenatal that contains less iron or at least stay off of the prenatal for a while until your constipation is under control.
Avoid foods that can lead to constipation. White bread and some cereals such as corn flakes can lead to constipation as well as white rice and bananas.
Don’t eat when you’re highly stressed or anxious. Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression reduce your production of hydrochloric acid and lower levels of secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity in the gastrointestinal tract. This will impair your digestion. And because poor digestion leads to nutrient depletions that make it more difficult to handle stress, it creates a vicious cycle. If you need to eat and do feel stressed or anxious, take a few minutes to breathe deeply or practice other relaxation techniques before your meal. Also consider listening to relaxing music while you eat.
Constipation is never pleasant but during pregnancy it can be even extra uncomfortable. Make sure you take the steps to avoid constipation. It will help make your pregnancy that much more enjoyable.
How to cope with food aversions
Do you find yourself suddenly feeling queasy at the thought of the left over pasta that you could not get enough of the other night? Food aversions are a normal part of pregnancy and the flip side to food cravings. Nearly eighty five percent of all pregnant women suffer from food aversions. Food aversion is when food your normally are able to look at, smell and even taste suddenly send you running in the opposite direction. They appear in the first trimester and usually trigger that fun part of pregnancy we call morning sickness. Some women find that they disappear by the start of their second trimester right around the same time morning sickness disappears. Other women find that their food aversions stay with them their whole pregnancy and a few women find that foods they developed aversions to through out the pregnancy stay with them even after they deliver.
Just like with food cravings, your hormones are more than likely to blame for your food aversions. Some experts believe that just as food cravings are your body’s way of telling you that you need a certain food, food aversions are your body’s way of protecting you from eating anything that can harm your baby. This might be why a lot of women report that they experience aversions to alcohol and coffee. The theory is still under debate though because so many pregnant women are turned off by food that is healthy for them and their babies.
Try not to fight a healthy aversion. Consider it a blessing if the mere thought of your normal morning cup of joe turns your stomach upside down. Cutting back caffeine will be a walk in the park for you. The same goes for cigarette smoke. Many women have said that the first clue they had that they were pregnant was the fact that the smell of smoke sent them running. Others say that their first clue they were pregnant was when they had actually felt sick when thinking about having a glass of wine with dinner.
If you find that you have aversions to healthy food, try to work around it as best as possible. Do not force yourself to eat food that you have aversions too. It is not a pleasant experience; instead try to look for alternatives. Some women find the thought of salad or anything green revolting. If you are one of them, you might be wondering how you are going to get the nutrients and vitamins you need. One alternative is to try and drink some vegetable juice. While drinking vegetable juice is not the same as eating vegetables it has its benefits when you can’t look at your veggies. You should also try eating different color veggies like peppers or carrots. If it is protein like fish and chicken that make you sick, get your protein in other forms. Cheese, yogurt, eggs and nuts are fantastic protein alternatives. Or you can try and hide your meat in dishes. Stir chicken into a casserole or mix some seafood into a pasta dish. This way you can still get your protein in, and with less of a risk of getting sick.
Just like with morning sickness, do not beat yourself up if you can not eat as healthy as you would like while you are dealing with food aversions. Chances are once you enter your second trimester, they will disappear and you can eat more of a variety of foods.