DIARRHEA DURING PREGNANCY

diarrhea during pregnancy

diarrhea during pregnancy

Is it Normal to Have Diarrhea During Pregnancy?

Diarrhea during pregnancy is very common for most women, so whether you’re planning on having a child or you are already pregnant, you shouldn’t panic if you experience severe diarrhea during pregnancy.

If you have frequent loose watery stools in a day you have diarrhea. Diarrhea during pregnancy first trimester may be caused by changes in the pregnancy hormones, change in diet during pregnancy, and several viral infections.

Diarrhea during pregnancy second trimester is common complaint among pregnant women. You can safely stop this by using over the counter anti diarrhea medications which are safe to use. If your diarrhea is not going away after about 48 hours, you should see your doctor.

Diarrhea during pregnancy third trimester is common. Generally diarrhea is common a few weeks before delivery. It’s your body’s way of flushing itself out in preparing room for the delivery of the baby. Drink plenty of water or hydrating fluids like Gatorade and make sure you remain hydrated.

In most cases this chronic diarrhea during pregnancy can be successfully prevented and stopped with only small changes in your diet during pregnancy, so all you have to do to put an end to having diarrhea during pregnancy is avoid certain foods and watch your diet regularly. However, if you suspect something is wrong, you should see your practitioner as soon as possible.

Causes of Diarrhea During Pregnancy

Most likely, diarrhea during pregnancy is due to external factors, whereas constipation during this period is caused by the ever changing level of pregnancy hormones in your body.

If you are experiencing cramps and diarrhea during pregnancy it is most likely because you have changed your entire lifestyle, including your eating and drinking habits. Most moms-to-be start drinking more water, eat healthier food and cut down certain habits. Even the workouts may cause your body to react unexpectedly.

Other causes of diarrhea during pregnancy may be the prenatal vitamins some women take. If this is your case, contact your health care provider in order to change the brand. Sometimes it’s all it takes to get you back in shape!

Other and more serious causes of upset stomach diarrhea during pregnancy are stomach flu, food poisoning or intestinal parasites. In case you suspect one of these, you should turn to your health care provider as soon as possible, get yourself tested and treated in order to prevent further complications.

Remember, ignoring constant diarrhea during pregnancy may lead to severe dehydration, which is currently one of the leading causes of premature labor. Therefore, if your diarrhea continues more than 3 to 5 days and shows one or more combinations of below symptoms, you should take it seriously and start applying the needed measures and remedies.

  • Vomiting and diarrhea during pregnancy
  • Cramping and diarrhea during pregnancy
  • Constipation and diarrhea during pregnancy
  • Watery diarrhea during pregnancy
  • Bloody diarrhea during pregnancy
  • Sickness and diarrhea during pregnancy
  • Black diarrhea during pregnancy
  • Mucus in diarrhea during pregnancy
  • Green diarrhea during pregnancy

These are very serious conditions and need immediate medical remedies. So do not ignore these conditions and be sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately. Similarly this may indicate irritable bowel syndrome. You should see your doctor or a gastroenterologist to rule out other causes before being treated for this. This is a sign that something more complicated is happening that may require medical treatment.

How to Prevent Diarrhea During Pregnancy?

There are some foods you should keep your hands off in order to avoid diarrhea during pregnancy in the first place. Dried fruits, like prunes, are in fact all natural laxatives, so if you eat too many you will disturb your bowel movements.

Fatty or spicy foods also cause diarrhea because it is sometimes hard for your body to assimilate them.  Then, if you are lactose intolerant you should try to avoid dairy products as much as possible, or stick to less processed one, containing lower amounts of fats and water.

Try to avoid high-sugar drinks like coke and sodas, energy drinks and grape juice. The high sugar dosage of these drinks will cause your digestion to act up and this imbalance will in turn lead to diarrhea during pregnancy. Not to mention these drinks will also speed up weight gain during pregnancy and as you surely know, packing pounds too quickly isn’t healthy for you and baby growth during pregnancy.

If you have diarrhea and you’re in the gestation period, you should avoid not only drinks that contain too much sugar but also those very rich in caffeine and acids. These would draw water into your stomach, making it harder for your digestive system to process foods in a healthy way.

Thus, by drinking such products, you will actually worsen your condition and make diarrhea during pregnancy last even longer. Sport drinks on the other hand can a good choice because they are designed to help athletes rehydrate by replacing electrolytes. Still, make sure to check with your physician before opting for such drinks, as not all of them are healthy for pregnant women.

What can I Take for Diarrhea During Pregnancy?

What to take for diarrhea during pregnancy is the common concern of pregnant women. Remember there are certain diets that are recommended to pregnant women who are suffering from diarrhea during pregnancy. For example there is one called the BRAT diet and it originally includes toasts, bananas, applesauce and rice.

New versions of the BRAT diet also recommend a higher intake of certain minerals and vitamins, such as zinc for example, which aren’t provided by the diet otherwise. This eating plan assures gentile nourishment for a future mom’s body and it keeps meals healthy and tasty, so if you want to start this diet, consider including the following ingredients in your daily menu:

  • Lean meats like skinless chicken or turkey breast
  • Carrots, rice, noodles and light soups
  • Yogurt
  • Potatoes, enriched cereals, low salt crackers

Similar over the counter anti diarrhea medications are safe to use. It is also safe to take loperamid (Immodium), but avoid bismuth-containing products like Pepto-Bismol, they contain salicylates which are an aspirin compound and should be avoided during pregnancy. If your diarrhea is not going away after about 48 hours, you should see your doctor.

If you are interested in learning more on diarrhea during pregnancy, you can always check our other interesting articles on pregnancy symptoms. To learn in-depth about trimester of pregnancy read our comprehensive article on 1st trimester of pregnancy, 2nd trimester of pregnancy and 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

Last reviewed on 25/01/2013

Image credit: Robert McDon (used under creative commons license)

References

  • NHS – The Pregnancy Book
  • Pregnancy and birth sourcebook : basic consumer health information about pregnancy and fetal development … / edited by Amy L. Sutton. — 3rd ed. (Omnigraphics, Inc.)
  • The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth (World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.)
  • Prescribing in Pregnancy (Fourth edition) Edited by Peter Rubin and Margaret Ramsay (Blackwell Publishing)
  • Dewhurst’s Textbook Of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Seventh Edition)Edited By D. Keith Edmonds Ramsay (Blackwell Publishing)
  • Textbook of Diabetes and Pregnancy (Second Edition) Edited by Moshe Hod MD / Lois Jovanovic MD / Gian Carlo Di Renzo MD PhD / Alberto de Leiva MD PhD / Oded Langer MD PhD  (Informa UK Ltd)
  • Management of High-Risk Pregnancy An Evidence-Based Approach (Fifth Edition) Edited By John T. Queenan / Catherine Y. Spong / Charles J. Lockwood (Blackwell Publishing)
  • WHO-2000-Managing Complications in Pregnancy Childbirth A Guide for Midwives Doctors
  • Management of Common Problems in Obstetrics and Gynecology Edited By T. Murphy Goodwin MD / Martin N. Montoro MD /  Laila I. Muderspach MD /  Richard J. Paulson MD /  Subir Roy MD (Wiley-Blackwell)
  • WHO  – Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth: A guide for midwives and doctors
  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders During Pregnancy and Postpartum Edited By Lee S. Cohen, M.D./ Ruta M. Nonacs, M.D., Ph.D.  (American Psychiatric Publishing)
  • Maternal-Fetal Nutrition during Pregnancy and Lactation  Editors  Michael E. Symonds and Margaret M. Ramsay (CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS)
  • Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies (fifth edition)  Steven G. Gabbe, MD /  Jennifer R. Niebyl, MD /  Joe Leigh Simpson, MD (MOSBY)

Web References

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