Know Your Nutrients: Fiber and Pregnancy

Know Your Nutrients: Fiber and Pregnancy

by Amanda Hawkinson

There are many benefits to increasing the amount of fiber in your diet during pregnancy.  Increasing fiber intake can lower blood pressure and help relieve the constipation that is often associated with pregnancy. In addition, a new study has shown that eating more fiber during your first trimester seems to reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia.

According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, some 5 percent to 8 percent of women experience the dangerous condition during pregnancy. The only way to end preeclampsia is to deliver the baby — obviously a more reasonable strategy the further along a pregnancy is.

Risk factors of preeclampsia include obesity, a family history of type-2 diabetes and/or hypertension, depression, anxiety, diets low in fruits and vegetables, and low levels of physical activity.

The findings, published July 17 in the online edition of the American Journal of Hypertension, seem to corroborate previous findings on the subject from somewhat smaller studies.

The conducted study compiled a list of the questionnaire answers to 1,500 pregnant women in Washington State. Results showed that women who consumed 21.2 grams a day or more of fiber were 72% less likely to develop preeclampsia compared with women who ate less than 11.9 grams a day. It also showed that Triglyceride concentrations were lower and levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol concentrations higher.

A fiber-rich diet is very important during pregnancy, not only for lowering preeclampsia but for the overall health of the mother and child.