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5 ways to keep gut-healthy during pregnancy

If you’re a friend of The Goat, you’ll know that good gut health = good general health and a happier you. This goes for all seasons of life, including pregnancy.

Encouraging good gut health during this time can help support your body, improve pregnancy symptoms (such as fatigue, constipation and nausea) and give your baby the best possible start in life.

Here are five ways you can keep gut-healthy and maintain good general wellbeing during pregnancy – and beyond!

1. Take probiotics

Probiotics are known to boost bacterial diversity within your gut microbiome1https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-super-healthy-probiotic-foods, improve immunity2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4052788/ and protect from harmful pathogens.3https://draxe.com/nutrition/kefir-benefits/

One study of 49 pregnant women with obesity found that those who took a multi-strain probiotic supplement from 17 weeks pregnant until delivery, experienced increased gut bacteria diversity, compared with those who took a placebo.4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7319727/ High bacterial diversity is a sure sign of a happy gut, while low bacterial diversity has been linked to digestive issues and autoimmune conditions.

So get your microbiome in good shape, ready to pass on to baby! We recommend Chuckling Goat Probiotic Kefir. Our Kefir is made with pasteurised goats milk, pure and unflavoured and contains zero chemicals – the perfect ally for your journey throughout parenthood – from conception to birth and beyond!

2. Exercise daily

Moving your body encourages movement in your gut microbiome! Regular exercise, even low-intensity exercises such as walking, yoga and swimming, can stimulate the muscles in your gut and help move food along, relieving constipation5https://www.healthline.com/health/lazy-bowel#causes (a common symptom during pregnancy!).

As well as easing uncomfortable symptoms, science shows that regular exercise improves the functioning of gut microbiota, encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria, and promotes microbial diversity6https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/can-exercise-boost-my-gut-health/ – and remember, it’s all about diversity when it comes to a happy tum!

Gentle exercise such as prenatal yoga, swimming, walking and pelvic floor/abdominal exercises are a great place to start, but remember to listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

Avoid exercises that involve lying on your back for longer than a few minutes (particularly after the 16 week mark) and exercise that risks your bump being hit/hurt. Any questions regarding exercise during this time should be discussed with your medical professional.

3. Hydrate

Keeping well-hydrated is important for your whole body. During pregnancy, ensuring you’re drinking enough water can help aid digestion, regulate bowel movements and form the amniotic fluid around your growing baby.7https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7045461/

Looking for more reasons to refill that water bottle? Drinking enough water can also –

  • Hydrate your skin
  • Decrease joint pain
  • Boost microbial diversity and reduce levels of ‘bad bacteria’8https://jn.nutrition.org/

The NHS recommends you aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water or other fluids a day.

Read more about the importance of keeping hydrated here.

4. Manage stress

Stress can take a mental and physical toll on your body – this includes disrupting the peace in your gut microbiome! Due to the gut-brain axis, stress may cause constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion and other gastrointestinal issues.

Help manage stress for both you and baby by –

  • Practicing yoga, meditation and/or hypnobirthing techniques
  • Delegating work and household tasks
  • Making dedicated time for yourself to enjoy calming activities such as taking a bath, listening to music, reading, reasting etc.

You can find more tips for managing stress here.

5. Eat a gut-healthy diet

Eating plenty of fibre-rich foods and Omega 3’s will help ensure your body is well-supported throughout pregnancy and increase your bacterial diversity.

WHO recommends 30g of fibre a day, but most adults in the UK only consume 20g or less! The type of fibre you eat is also important. For optimal gut health, fibre should come from a variety of food sources, including whole grains (gluten-free if necessary) and pulses. Fruits and vegetables alone will not hack it!

So, what exactly does 30g and a variety of food sources look like? Check out our fibre-rich meal plan inspo here!

Here’s what I’m eating in a day as a pregnant gut-health expert.

Any questions? Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm.

References

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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