Benefiber is made from a natural soluble type of fiber called wheat dextrin. It’s a bulk-forming supplement, which means it makes stools softer so you don’t have to strain as much when you go to the bathroom. Benefiber could help relieve some of your episodes of constipation while you’re pregnant, but to be safe, don’t take it without getting your doctor’s permission first.
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Causes of Irregularity in Pregnancy
Generally irregularity comes from a lack of fiber in the diet. However, as you get further along in your pregnancy, your activity level often slows down, and thus so do your bowels. Pregnancy hormones and the impact of your growing fetus pushing against your intestines also make your intestinal muscles relax, which can cause constipation, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Additionally, when you’re pregnant, the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and stress can further delay digestion.
How Supplements Help
Soluble fiber supplements, including Benefiber, pull water into your intestinal tract. The extra fluid in your gut keeps stools moist so they don’t become dry, hard and difficult to pass -- a sign of constipation. Adding the supplement to your diet should help improve regularity while you’re pregnant and make your stools easier to pass. However, you need to drink lots of fluids if you’re taking a fiber supplement. Upping your fiber intake without water can have the reverse effect and leave you constipated.
You should consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day while you’re pregnant, according to the American Pregnancy Association. If you take the powdered form of Benefiber, you’ll get 3 grams of fiber per 2-teaspoon serving, which you’re supposed to take three times a day. If you prefer the fruity chewable pills, you’ll get 1 gram of fiber per tablet. The recommended dosage for the tablets is up to three tablets, three times daily. Either way, if you follow the manufacturer’s recommendation, you’ll get 9 grams of fiber daily.
Fiber supplements, including Benefiber, are generally safe. Some obstetricians recommend fiber supplements to relieve pregnancy-related constipation, but only if upping your fiber intake through foods doesn’t help. Taking too much Benefiber at once could wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal tract. Start out with just a small dose, like one-fourth or one-half of the recommendation. Every few days, add a little more Benefiber to your diet. As long as you don’t have any negative fiber side effects, such as diarrhea, bloating, constipation or belly cramping, you’re going at the right pace on your dosage.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Benefiber: Benefiber FAQs
- Providence Health & Services: Ask an Expert: What’s Safe to Take During Pregnancy?
- American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy and Constipation
- Drugs.com: Benefiber
- Benefiber: Benefiber Assorted Fruit Chewables
- Benefiber: Benefiber Powder
- Mount Sinai: Bowel Function and Dietary Fiber
- Drugs.com: Benefiber Powder (Wheat Dextrin) Drug Interactions