A Break From IBS: My New Diet During Pregnancy
Last updated: May 2020
Pregnancy has a huge impact on a woman’s body. And that includes her digestive system, too.
I’ve mentioned before that my IBS symptoms improved a lot during the second half of my first trimester, and they never really came back. But that doesn’t mean that my IBS suddenly vanished!
I still had the occasional flare-up when I ate something wrong. And I still got some of the symptoms, depending on what I ate. However, these effects were really minimal if I take into account how much my diet changed during those 9 months. But why did it change so much?
Dairy or no dairy
One of my first and biggest food aversions during the first half of my pregnancy was dairy. It just sounded, smelled and tasted gross to me. And so, I pretty much avoided it altogether for 4 or 5 months.
My lactose-free milk got replaced by almond milk. I didn’t eat yogurt or cheese. The only dairy product I was still able to stomach was chocolate.
However, I knew that this wasn’t a good idea. You need calcium during pregnancy, and I was barely consuming any. I know that other foods contain calcium as well, but I just wasn’t eating enough of those.
So, I tried different ways to incorporate at least some dairy into my diet. The best solution I found was eating berries with plain yogurt. Somehow, this combination worked, and my newly reduced IBS did not act up as much as I thought it would!
I could take a bit of bloating if it meant getting enough nutrients into my body.
Once my pregnancy is over, I plan on switching back to lactose-free alternatives again. Plain yogurt will be replaced by soy yogurt, which will hopefully taste just as good.
The smell of Asian food
Before pregnancy, I ate tons of Asian food. It’s rice-based, it hardly contains raw vegetables… what more can an IBS sufferer ask for?
However, the smell of Asian food was more than I could take during pregnancy. I also couldn’t eat some foods, like sushi, due to the ingredients.
In order to replace my usual Asian food, I started making plenty of chicken and rice recipes that work amazingly well for my IBS! I had no symptoms at all after eating them, and I believe that I wouldn’t have had any if I wasn’t pregnant, either.
Chicken and rice have always been safe foods for me. Now that I’ve gotten far more creative with cooking them, I’ll be making those recipes a ton in the future! And I’m sure that they will make great family meals, too.
The weight problem
While I lost quite a lot of weight during the first trimester of my pregnancy, I started gaining a bit too much later on. At first, I cut all the unnecessary sugars out of my diet, but that didn’t seem to be enough.
Then, I decided to change the way I ate all together. Instead of basing my meals around carbs (something I’ve been doing for years because carbs are pretty safe for my IBS), I started getting creative with veggies.
My IBS was doing really well, so I thought I would at least try!
I subscribed to a meal delivery service to get inspired, and then kept remaking similar recipes for myself. And it was okay. I was able to digest most of the veggie-based meals, as long as they didn’t contain too many onions or other triggers like cabbage.
Unlike usually, I didn’t have to forgo most recipes, but only had to adapt them a little to suit my still-but-barely-there IBS.
I know that I probably won’t be able to eat any of those meals after pregnancy, so I’m just enjoying them while I can. Oh, and it did help get my weight gain under control!
Sugar, sugar, sugar
Old wife's tales say that if you crave sugar during your pregnancy, you’re probably expecting a girl. But oh boy, are they wrong.
During my first trimester, sugary stuff sounded way better to me than anything else. Fruit, chocolate, desserts... At one point, I was addicted to peach iced tea which I drank all the time!
Then, I started gaining weight. And I had to stop.
In order to satisfy my sugar cravings, I ended up eating tons of berries. I would buy packs of frozen berries, defrost them in the microwave and eat them with yogurt and sometimes unsweetened cocoa powder and a bit of honey. This has been my favorite dessert for months!
Thankfully, berries have always been an IBS-approved food for me, so I’ll probably be able to eat the same thing after giving birth as well.
All in all, I’ve really been enjoying my diet during pregnancy. It’s like a nice little break from always worrying about my IBS!
Even though it’s not gone, I am able to eat far more foods than outside of pregnancy. It’s just nice to be reminded of how it feels to have a somewhat “normal” digestive system.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?