The benefits of fiber during pregnancy

Pregnancy brings with it certain ailments such as constipation. Find out now how fiber will help you feel good and why you should eat it!

What are the secrets of dietary fiber?

What is fiber?

Fiber is a member of the carbohydrate family. Carbohydrates, along with fats and proteins, are the main families of molecules that make up food. Fibers are found in large quantities in plants, particularly in the leaves and skin of fruits.

In terms of structure, fibers are composed of chains of simple sugars of varying lengths with the particularity of not being digestible. Thus, the organism does not absorb the fibers, because it does not have the necessary molecules for its digestion. 

However, an important microbial flora lives in the intestine. This flora allows the digestion of fibers and thus contributes to the well-being of the body.

Fibers are classified into 2 main categories: soluble fibers on the one hand and insoluble fibers on the other hand. Insoluble fibers play an essential role in dealing with constipation because they do not dissolve in water as their name indicates. Insoluble fiber helps food move through the digestive tract. Soluble fibers, on the other hand, dissolve easily in water and form gels that help you feel fuller more quickly. 

What are the general recommendations for daily fiber intake?

Given the importance of fiber for the proper functioning of the body, health authorities recommend specific daily intakes. For adults, the total amount of dietary fiber should be equal to or greater than 25 grams per day to ensure proper bowel function. Similarly, to help prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes, a daily intake of 30 grams of dietary fiber is recommended.

In what foods is a fiber found?

As mentioned earlier, fiber is found in significant amounts in plants. Thus, cereals such as barley, rye, or oats contain soluble fiber. Insoluble fibers are found in the husk of wheat grains or the skin of almonds. 

The table below shows the nutritional values for the fiber content of some foods that are easy to include in a varied and balanced diet.


Average fiber content


10,6 g/ 100g

Dried figs

9,72 g/ 100g

Almonds with skin

12,5 g/ 100g

Dried apricots

10,3 g/ 100g

Dried parsley

29,7 g/100g 

The benefits of dietary fiber for the health and well-being of the body

Why is transit more complicated during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, great changes take place in a woman’s body. One of the most notable changes is at the hormonal level. Progesterone plays an essential role in preparing the uterus for pregnancy. Thus, during pregnancy, progesterone levels increase, which slows down the speed at which food moves through the intestine. At the same time, water will be absorbed less.

Also, at the end of pregnancy, the uterus takes up more space in the body. This compresses the colon and decreases the speed of bowel movements. The decrease in bowel activity results in an increased risk of constipation. 

Finally, many women change their diet to avoid nausea during the early stages of pregnancy. This change in eating habits also influences transit.

How does fiber contribute to a better transit?

The inclusion of sufficient fiber helps to stimulate and regulate intestinal transit. Fibers, mainly soluble fibers, feed the intestinal flora. They are fermented and serve as a nutritive substrate for the microorganisms in the intestine. The formation of a gel will also ensure a feeling of satiety and reduce the speed of digestion.

The intestinal microbiota is of paramount importance for well-being and general health. More and more scientific studies show that this intestinal flora plays a role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and inflammatory diseases.

What is the power of fiber on intestinal flora?

Fiber allows intestinal flora to contribute to the general health of the body. Health professionals recommend eating more vegetables and fruit. In the same way, a more regular intake of oilseeds such as almonds or walnuts or whole or semi-complete cereals offers interesting sources of fiber. Be careful, however, to respect your body’s balance: too much fiber leads to digestive discomfort. It is, therefore, necessary to give your body time to adapt and to increase your fiber intake gradually. 


Fiber is found in foods, particularly in the leaves and skin of fruits. Fiber is the food of the microorganisms in our colon. It also plays a role in transit by increasing the effect of satiety and regulating the speed of digestion. Fiber plays an essential role during pregnancy when hormones and the size of the uterus complicate digestion and cause problems such as constipation in pregnant women. 


Key take-home messages

  • Fiber is not digested in the upper digestive tract (small intestine) but the colon
  • Fiber facilitates intestinal transit
  • Fiber feeds the intestinal microbial flora
  • Soluble fibers create a gel that ensures satiety while insoluble fibers help the circulation of food in the digestive tract


  • Conseil supérieur de la santé, recommandations nutritionnelles pour la Belgique,2016
  • Office de la naissance et de l’enfance, Grossesse et allaitement que manger ? 2017
  • Ciqual, Table de composition nutritionnelles des aliments, 2017
  • Pregnant eat photo created by drobotdean <>  
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