EXERCISE AND NUTRITION.
Fibre, Fluids and Probiotics
FLUIDS. In pregnancy you generally need about 8 glasses a day of water (about 250mls a glass). If you are exercising you will need more. Remember that juices and tea and coffee can be dehydrating.
If you are taking iron tablets taking them with juice high in Vit C helps your body to absorb the iron. Ensure you have plenty of Vit C rich foods in your diet.
Most helpful tip I found was to have a mug of hot water with lemon first thing in the morning, before anything else, as it stimulates your gut to get working and cleanses your system. It works!! If you can't tolerate the lemon then a mug of just hot water will work too.
Eat fruit and veg with the skin on as they are good source of fibre. Add wholegrains. Swop white rice for brown rice (I find the basmati brown rice lovely). Wholegrain breads. Make your own granola (easy recipe on my page, message me if you can't find it) as you can cut the sugar out. Oats. Oatcakes. Wholegrain pasta. Avoid white carbs.
Berries, sprinkle them on your breakfast along with some flaxseed or seeds or both
Sweet potatoe, beans and pulses, kiwi and broccoli.
Dried fruit and nuts are a great source of fibre on the go too. Prunes and dried apricots. Popcorn.
Avoid fibre that is too high, such as weetabix, shreddies and shredded wheat. These can cause uncomfortable bloating and poop to be bulked out too much not really helping things. (In my pregnancy I went straight for the weetabix I was so desperate and it really made things a whole lot worse, wish someone had told me then what I know now!)
Probiotics keep our gut healthy. Yoghurt is produced by bacterial fermentation and so full of healthy probiotic cultures. Greek yoghurt is a sugar free option that is yummy on it's own or mix berries and some honey with it. Sprinkle seeds in it too. Or you could add some prunes.
Fermented foods such as are sauerkraut (I still have never made this) and kefir. Miso soup and kimchi (easy enough to get in a jar at the supermarket). I think yoghurt is probably your easiest option, personally :).
There are probiotics suitable for the pregnancy and postnatal period.
Exercise helps by speeding up the movement of food through your bowels. Exercise stimulates your muscles and your nerves helping your body function more efficiently. As exercise increases your heart rate and breathing it helps to stimulate the natural contractions (peristalsis) of your intestine moving along your stools through your system. This in turn means that less water is absorbed from your poo/stools.
Deep squat pose and cat/cow exercise, which we do in class, both help too. (Can’t get into a deep squat? Loosen up those hips with some kneeling corkscrews, work like magic. If you’ve been to any sessions with me you’ll know 😊)
*Another oh so helpful little tip with big results: when using the loo place both feet on a low stool so your knees are slightly higher then your hips.* Check out this funny and weird but very helpful youtube video, Squatty Potty!
Pelvic floor exercises help the muscles that support your bowel and bladder to function well and have good blood flow to the area.
WHATEVER YOU DO DO NOT STRAIN! You will put strain on your pelvic floor contributing to weakening it and contribute to possibly developing haemmoroids too, which can be common in pregnancy too and not pleasant. If you can’t go. Get up. Go and have a mug of warm water, go for a walk, do some exercise and try again.
Try some gentle tummy massage. Starting at the right side with gentle pressure massage in a circular motion following the path of your intestine, in a horse shoe shape, to the left side.
Having a cup of coffee is also a stimulant for your bowels.
Keep an eye on your poop. Check before you flush!
Our bowel health has an effect on so much of our overall health and is a very good indicator of what is going on with our health and nutrition. More on that to come. Sorting out our bowel health quite often then sorts out other problems.