Diarrhea in pregnancy
Unfortunately, diarrhea in pregnancy is one of those things that can happen to you. It can be extremely annoying, but for the most part, it is just a bit of a pain.
What is diarrhea?
I know this sounds really gross to discuss but it’s important to understand what diarrhea is.
Diarrhea usually occurs when you have an upset stomach.
It presents itself in the form of loose stools each time you use the toilet.
Diarrhea is only really classed as having a case of diarrhea when you have loose bowel movements at least 3 times in a day.
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Is diarrhea in early pregnancy bad?
Diarrhea during early pregnancy can happen for a number of reasons.
I know it might freak you out a bit when it does happen but depending on the reason for it you shouldn’t have to worry too much.
Many women do get diarrhea in pregnancy during their first trimester.
It doesn’t mean that your baby will be harmed in any way.
What happens if I get diarrhea in my third trimester of pregnancy?
Oddly enough, diarrhea is very common in the third trimester of pregnancy.
If you are experiencing diarrhea in the final days before you are due to give birth then it could be for the simple reason that your body is clearing the pathway before labor.
This is quite common in the final days of your pregnancy.
Just bare in mind though that each woman’s pregnancy symptoms can be different so don’t get too caught up on has it happened/ will it happen.
Some of the main causes of diarrhea during early pregnancy are:
#1 Stomach bug/ food poisoning
As careful as we try to be sometimes we just can’t avoid stomach bugs and food poisoning.
The good news is that if you do have either of the two your baby will still be protected.
Your body has natural defenses already in place so that if you do get sick your baby will not be harmed.
Even if you are having diarrhea and vomiting at the same time it is highly unlikely to affect your baby in the short term.
If the symptoms of diarrhea persist for much more than 3 days or so then you might want to look into it a bit further to make sure it is nothing serious.
Hormones can really do some strange stuff to us pregnant women.
One minute we are perfectly fine the next we could be in tears for absolutely no reason what so ever.
Hormones have a lot to answer for that’s for sure!
Hormones can also make your digestive system either speed up or slow down. In turn, you can either experience diarrhea or constipation.
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#3 Change in food sensitivity
Once you get pregnant you are likely to experience a host of changes including your tolerance to certain foods.
Foods that you wouldn’t bat an eyelid to originally can now become a problem for you. This can often be made worse by morning sickness.
Whenever I am pregnant for some reason I can’t seem to eat foods that are tomato based. So stews, pizza, anything like that I simply can not stomach.
I once tried to force myself to eat pizza because it smelt so good and within a few hours I could already feel that my stomach was unhappy.
It really is the strangest thing because once I give birth I’m free to eat what I want again without the ill effects.
#4 Dietary changes
You might be thinking, now that you are pregnant you want to keep your eating clean and stay away from bad food habits.
That’s a natural reaction to being pregnant but what you must remember is that when you suddenly switch your diet it can cause some adverse tempory effects on your body.
The likelihood is that your bowel movements will be different until things settle down.
It’s advisable that if you do want to make drastic changes to your diet that you do it slowly so it has minimal impact on your digestive system.
#5 Prenatal vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are great for your body as they help to make sure your baby is getting all the vitamins that they need.
The downside of taking prenatals are that they can upset your stomach and again cause either diarrhea or constipation.
I know for me that if I take iron during my pregnancy it sends me straight to the toilet. I found that depending on the way I consume the iron I am affected in different ways.
Foods rich in iron don’t affect me. Tablets can make me constipated and liquid iron gives me diarrhea.
Sometimes you just need to play around with things a little to see what works for you and what doesn’t.
If you are experiencing diarrhea here are a few things you can do about it.
Home remedies for diarrhea in pregnancy:
1. Stay hydrated
The number one thing you need to do when you get diarrhea is to stay hydrated.
When you get diarrhea, it causes you to lose a lot of bodily fluids.
The only way you can stay hydrated so that you don’t deteriorate further is to make sure that you drink enough water.
If you are finding it hard to drink water (as some pregnant women do) then you can try drinking juice, soup or suck on ice cubes instead.
2. Give it some time
Usually, diarrhea will sort its self out in a matter of days especially if you are experiencing it because of food poisoning.
3. Avoid it
Avoid the thing that gave you diarrhea in the first place if you know what caused it.
If you know that spicy food is a trigger for you then make sure that you stay away from it.
3. Try the BRAT diet
The BRAT diet stands for Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast
These 4 foods are said to help firm up your stools and dry up the excess water causing diarrhea.
You can try this in small amounts at each meal time to see if there are any improvements.
Some alternatives to treat diarrhea
If you are experiencing troublesome diarrhea in pregnancy then you should visit your doctor who might have to give you some medication to help relieve you.
Can diarrhea cause a miscarriage?
Diarrhea in pregnancy on its own does not cause miscarriage. However, if you have severe abdominal cramping or blood in your stool then you MUST visit a doctor straight away.
When to seek treatment
Diarrhea shouldn’t usually last for more than a few days. If you are at all concerned then you should seek medical advice immediately.
If you are experiencing any of the following then you need to see your doctor as a matter of urgency.
– Dark yellowish urine
– Reduced frequency of urinating
– Blood in your stool
– Severe abdominal cramping.
Remember it’s extremely important to look after your health in order to be able to look after your babies health too.
If you are ever in any doubt about your symptoms always check with a doctor or healthcare professional at your earliest convenience.
You can read further about diarrhea in this article here.