Meal Plan for Constipation Relief During Pregnancy

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During pregnancy, hormonal changes, decreased physical activity, vitamin supplementation, and your growing uterus may contribute to constipation. This uncomfortable symptom can be managed to help keep regular bowel movements. Ensuring you consume enough fiber and fluid can help prevent constipation, and probiotics found in some food may help too.

High fiber foods – including vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains – help to increase fluid content in your stool, which makes it softer and adds bulk, both of which help the stool to pass easier. Additionally, prunes may help with constipation due to their high content of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that pulls fluids into the colon and aids with the passage of stool.

Probiotics are bacteria that can help promote health when consumed regularly and in the right amounts. Probiotics are not “naturally” found in foods, but some probiotics are added to some foods, e.g. certain yogurts, cereals, supplements.

During pregnancy, your fluid needs are approximately 10 eight ounce cups per day. Eating plenty of produce will help meet your fluid intake as these foods tend to have a high water content.

Pro tip:

  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day during pregnancy. As long as your doctor has cleared you to engage in exercise, continuing to be active throughout each trimester may help not only prepare you for birth, but also help prevent constipation.
  • Choosing meals and snacks from the below listed options will help ensure you consume foods that will increase your fiber and fluid intake while maintaining a balanced diet.

Breakfast

  • Option 1: Strawberry banana smoothie with low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Option 2: Low-fat plain yogurt containing active cultures with high fiber cereal, berries, and ground flax seeds
  • Option 3: Mixed fruit salad with unsweetened coconut flakes, chopped almonds, and chia seeds
  • Option 4: Scrambled eggs with 1 cup vegetables (leftovers from dinner or fresh cut), side of banana, and high fiber whole grain toast
  • Option 5: Chia pudding with berries, chopped nuts, and coconut milk

Lunch

  • Option 1: Lentil salad over a bed of leafy greens
  • Option 2: Black bean soup and leafy green salad with baked chicken
  • Option 3: High fiber whole grain bread with banana and nut butter, side of cut vegetables
  • Option 4: Salmon salad on high fiber whole grain bread, side of hummus and vegetables
  • Option 5: High fiber whole grain wrap, filled with scrambled eggs and chopped vegetables; sliced apple on the side

Dinner

  • Option 1: Grilled tofu over sautéed greens with roasted potatoes       
  • Option 2: Three bean vegetarian chili, side salad
  • Option 3: Baked chicken, farro, roasted cauliflower
  • Option 4: Baked white fish, green peas, roasted sweet potato
  • Option 5: Bean tacos with corn tortillas, black beans, chopped tomatoes, sliced peppers, salsa

Snacks

  • Option 1: Cut up veggie sticks and hummus        
  • Option 2: Dried fruit like prunes and mixed nuts
  • Option 3: Bean Salad: Garbanzo beans, chopped carrots, chopped bell pepper, salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar
  • Option 4: Kefir (cultured milk) blended with fruit and chia seeds
  • Option 5: Black bean dip with corn tortilla chips

For more on this topic, check out the following articles:

Serve Up Those Superfoods

Serve Up Those Superfoods

Serve Up Those Superfoods

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