Good digestive transit depends on what’s on your plate
Constipation: why now?
Although the flood of progesterone reduces intestinal tonicity from the start of pregnancy onwards, it is generally during the third trimester that digestive transit slows down. This is nothing serious in itself and is easily explained.
The compression of the colon by the uterus can be the cause, as can certain supplements, iron in particular. But above all, you move less, get a bit more stressed and are more easily tempted by foods that are not always the most appropriate.
The first thing to do, therefore, is to consider your diet, chew well, if possible take a half-hour walk every day and take your time in the bathroom. The doctor will only prescribe treatment if these measures do not bear fruit in a few days (or if there is any pain or bleeding). Now is not the time to start self medicating with laxatives!
Which foods should you eat more of?
Water: with nausea now a thing of the past, a large glass of water at room temperature drunk when you get up will immediately stimulate intestinal transit. And good regular hydration throughout the day (between meals) will rehydrate faeces, making them easier to evacuate. Some water with a high magnesium content may prove useful on medical advice.
Soft fibers: found in fruit and vegetables, they are not all the right ones to eat. When it comes to vegetables, go for green beans, cooked carrots, chicory and in the case of fruit, fruit that is cooked (prunes), quite mature (pears, peaches) and always peeled. Or opt for compotes.
Dairy products: skimmed with a high probiotic content, especially, yoghurt and hard cheeses (cheddar, gruyère, etc.).
Wholemeal or semi-wholemeal foods: wholemeal bread, whole-wheat pasta or brown rice all aid intestinal transit. But they can sometimes be harmful for some intestines or do not agree with certain palates. Semi-wholemeal versions are a good solution.
What foods could cause irritation?
The degree of intestinal sensitivity differs from one person to another. In addition, even though some foods tend to slow down intestinal transit, awareness of this will also depend on the individual. If they have no impact, there is no need to avoid them. However, it is best to opt for moderation or switch to alternatives temporarily.
Certain fibers: when they are too hard, they may irritate delicate intestines and encourage fermentation. When it comes to pulses : (lentils, flageolet beans, chick peas and beans). In order not to miss out on their benefits, go for lentils and ideally prepare them yourself after soaking. Tinned, be sure to rinse and cook them well.
Vegetables: Those described as having “a strong taste” (all varieties of cabbage, celery, leeks and artichokes) tend to ferment. It may be better to eat them sparingly or replace them with other vegetables that benefit intestinal transit (spinach, courgettes, fine green beans, etc.) for their good vitamin content. In the case of sensitivity, it will also be better to limit crudités and raw vegetables, and peel and de-pip tomatoes and cucumbers.
Fruit: probably better, for the time being, to leave the following till later on: over-green bananas and cherries or plums, which are very rich in sorbitol, a natural sugar that is not always easily digested. If raw apples pose a problem, stewed is a good alternative. Opt without hesitation for oranges, pineapples or grapes: the range of fruits is wide enough to benefit daily from their high vitamin and antioxidant content.
Fats and spices: It is better to limit consumption of saturated fats (fatty meats, cold cuts, overly rich dishes) and opt instead for unsaturated fats (salmon, olive and rapeseed oil), which are beneficial for the cardiovascular system and intestinal transit. Sensitive intestines should sometimes also limit condiments and harsh spices (gherkins, pepper, chilli, strong mustard), which are liable to slow digestion.