The gallbladder is a small sac beneath your liver that stores and releases bile, a fat-dissolving substance, into your intestinal tract. Gallstones develop when residual bile hardens into solid clumps. These large stones can block the exit duct, causing a gallbladder attack, which results in acute abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting. An increase in estrogen levels during pregnancy make pregnant women more likely to develop gallstones. Modifying your diet during pregnancy can decrease the severity of your gallbladder attacks, even if gallstones are already present.
Reduce Your Fat Intake
Eating any type of fat triggers a reaction from your gallbladder, which becomes painful if you suffer from large gallstones. According to Dr. Frank Jackson at Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology, reducing your dietary fat can improve your gallstone symptoms. For example, replace red meat with skinless, light-meat poultry, and use low-fat yogurt instead of butter or cooking oils. These changes reduce gallbladder activity, which reduces the risk of an attack. Additionally, decreasing your dietary fat helps you maintain a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy.
Eat More Fiber
Increasing your dietary fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains improves digestion and relieves your gallbladder. According to MayoClinic.com, pregnant women should eat between 4 and 5 cups of fruit or vegetables each day. Mix a handful of dried apricots into your oatmeal or add vitamin-rich vegetables, such as baby spinach and tomato, to your sandwich instead of cheese and mayonnaise. Darkly colored fruits and vegetables, such as berries, kale and broccoli also provide important nutrients for your baby's brain and organ development, such as folate and iron.
Proper hydration allows your body to break down the extra fiber and helps transport the nutrients you eat to your uterus. According to MayoClinic.com, pregnant women need approximately 10 glasses of fluid each day. Sodas and other sweetened beverages technically qualify as fluid, but they also pack hundreds of empty calories. Plain water with a twist of citrus fruit is a much healthier alternative that will help you avoid the extra sugar calories and caffeine.
Eat Whole Foods
Choose fresh, whole foods over refined or processed items. For example, eat fresh spinach instead of canned creamed spinach and whole-wheat bread instead of white. Reducing, or eliminating, highly processed foods that contain preservatives, trans fats and other additives can ease symptoms of gallstones, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Packaged snack foods such as snack cakes, crackers and chips are chief offenders in this category. Instead, prepare your own snacks before leaving the house, such as apple slices and pita strips with hummus.