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Paula Kashtan

Why Fiber Is Important During Pregnancy

Learn why fiber is your friend—and which foods have plenty of it.

Fiber is a pregnant girl’s buddy. Why? It keeps everything moving through the large intestine and fights against that all-too-common pregnancy symptom, constipation. Plus, fiber-rich foods are usually nutrient-dense, meaning they fill you up without adding tons of calories. (You really only need an extra 350 extra calories in the second trimester and about 450 extra calories in the third trimester, according to Pooja Shah, MD, regional medical director for Banner Medical Group AZ East and a practicing ob-gyn.)

Shoot for 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, the American Pregnancy Association says, and drink plenty of water to help the fiber move through your system.

So which fiber-rich foods can help you get to your daily goal? Fruits, veggies and beans are all excellent sources, but if those make you gassy, try whole grain breads and cereals. These also contain lots of fiber but may be easier to digest. Avoid white foods like pasta, rice and non-whole grain bread. Check out more high-fiber options:

High-fiber vegetables

  • Acorn squash (1 cup has 9 g)
  • Green peas (1 cup cooked has 8.8 g)
  • Sweet potato (1 cup mashed has 8.2 g)
  • Collard greens (1 cup cooked has 7.6 g)
  • Artichokes (1 cooked artichoke has 6.8 g)
  • Brussels sprouts (1 cup cooked has 6.4 g)
  • Broccoli (1 cup cooked has 5.5 g)

High-fiber fruits

  • Dried figs (1 cup has 14.6 g)
  • Avocado (1 cup has 10.1 g)
  • Raspberries (1 cup has 8 g)
  • Blackberries (1 cup has 7.6 g)
  • Oranges (1 orange has 7.7 g)
  • Banana (1 cup has 5.8 g)
  • Apples (1 cup of apple slices has 4.8 g)

High-fiber grains and cereals

  • Pearled barley (1 cup cooked has 6 g)
  • Quinoa (1 cup cooked has 5.2 g)
  • Whole wheat pasta (1 cup cooked has 4.6 g)
  • Brown rice (1 cup cooked has 3.5 g)
  • Wild rice (1 cup cooked has 3 g)
  • Bran flakes (three-fourths cup has 5.5 g)
  • Oat brand muffins (1 muffin has 5.2 g)

High-fiber legumes and nuts

  • Kidney beans (1 cup cooked has 16.5 g)
  • Split peas (1 cup boiled has 16.3 g)
  • Lentils (1 cup cooked has 15.6 g)
  • Black beans (1 cup cooked has 15 g)
  • Almonds (1 ounce has 3.5 g)
  • Pistachio nuts (1 ounce has 2.9 g)
  • Pecans (1 ounce has 2.7 g)

Expert Source: The US Department of Agriculture Food Composition Databases

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