IBS lends its mark on many pregnant women, and yes, one of those fortunate ladies is me! I am halfway through my second trimester and my IBS is starting to kick up a notch.
My FODMAP Life and Pregnancy
Says an article on IBS.org: “Upwards to a third of pregnant women experience increased constipation, particularly during the last trimester” well it’s already happening to me now at week 19! Metamucil is listed as safe by my doctor to use and it is making a slight difference. The article goes on to note that “Changes in the ovarian hormones, which are elevated during pregnancy, and the physical pressure the growing baby places on the bowel wall, may both contribute to GI symptoms.” I believe it!
I am abiding by the Low-Fodmap Diet and it’s still helping my overall health, and I think the second part to my success is eating slowly, uninterrupted and having VERY small quantities at a time. I say this because when I do, my gut stays quiet and calm, and when I haven’t followed my own rules, I look like I’m much further along in my pregnancy and food comes back up my throat. Who likes that?!
A typical day for me starts out with an egg white omelet with spinach, maybe some Low-Fodmap cheese and Low Fodmap herbs. For snacks I like Low-Fodmap veggies and fruits, gluten-free crackers, popcorn, a rice cake with almond butter, lactose-free yogurt, Jay Robb’s egg white protein to add in my shakes, Low-Fodmap cheese and sometimes I get a nice protein boost from one of my favorite brands Applegate Farms turkey breast (no antibiotics and hormones, no nitrates or nitrites). For dinner there’s again always protein (very important for pregnancy), greens and a smaller serving of brown rice, quinoa, rice noodles or other gluten-free and wheat-free pasta, or polenta.
I am supposed to be drinking loads of water everyday but I have to drink slowly, otherwise I feel as though a bout with vomiting is coming on. My goal is to finish 8 oz. of water every hour and sometimes success finds me, and sometimes it does not. Migraine headaches have been creeping in and I think they are neck pain, pregnancy and Hashimoto’s Disease related. I can only speculate that one of the best ways to keep migraines quiet and calm is to again DRINK LOADS OF WATER and get sleep when I need it.
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Non-Drug Therapies for IBS and Pregnancy
From the several notable sources regarding how to manage IBS and pregnancy, many dole out the same information we have all been learning about according to the Low Fodmap Diet:
- Relaxation therapy – or meditation for digestion. And specifically some slow (prenatal) yoga.
- Fiber – and of course picking the right type of fiber that won’t increase symptoms.
- Reduction of gas-producing foods – like the cruciferous HIGH FODMAP vegetables (that I once enjoyed long ago) that slowly come to plague you later on: beans, cabbage, legumes, cauliflower, broccoli, lentils, and Brussels sprouts.
- Keep sugary foods to a limit (of course!) and have drinks with electrolytes (make sure those drinks aren’t high in FODMAPs like fructose or sugar alcohols).
- My naturopathic doctor has me on probiotics that are not as well known as Align, but they are certainly doing the trick.
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Sources: IBS.org info was adapted from IFFGD Publication #183 by Margaret Heitkemper, RN, PhD, Professor of Nursing and Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.