What are the signs and causes of diarrhea during Pregnancy

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on August 13, 2012

Signs of Pregnancy

Diarrhea is the medical term for loose and watery bowel movements that are unusually frequent.  A person suffering from this condition also experiences nausea, bloating, an immediate need to empty the bowels, and cramps. Diarrhea can be caused due to viruses, bacteria, food intolerances, or parasites. Diarrhea can also be the result of hormonal changes that pregnancy introduces to ...


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...a woman's body. A general pregnancy diet includes a high fiber diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking prenatal vitamins. All of these can also trigger diarrhea.

During pregnancy, your digestive system can either slow down or you can get constipated. Some women might also experience diarrhea. In addition to diarrhea, the other pregnancy signs are fatigue, sleepiness, vomiting, nausea, bloating, abdominal cramps, no menstrual period, frequent urination, irritability, and mood swings. Unlike constipation, which is caused due to fluctuating pregnancy hormones, diarrhea is generally caused due to something outside the body. It may even be due to the exercises that you are doing, extra water that you are drinking, or food that you are eating.

What causes diarrhea during pregnancy?

  • You might get diarrhea due to prenatal vitamins.
  • You may develop diarrhea because of bad food, excess of water, exercise, or an internal problem in the digestive system.
  • Diarrhea during pregnancy can also occur due to sensitivity towards certain foods, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, or a stomach infection.
  • Another reason for diarrhea during pregnancy is the high level of the progesterone hormone.
Although diarrhea by itself is not a pregnancy sign, it is not uncommon in pregnant women. However, if you experience diarrhea, do consult the doctor immediately to ward off any risk of dehydration. Dehydration during pregnancy should never be ignored as it can cause premature labor. So make sure you remain hydrated throughout your pregnancy. Drink plenty of water and hydrating drinks. By drinking lots of water you maintain your body temperature at a normal level and wash away all the toxins.

Consume food that will help decrease the problem such as potatoes, rice, apples, and bananas. However, do cut back on these foods once your diarrhea is fixed to avoid ending up constipated. Keep away from foods that will only aggravate your health problem such as spicy and oily foods, dried fruits, fatty foods, and milk, especially if you are lactose intolerant. Avoid drinks like packaged apple and grape juice as well as colas as they have a high sugar content which will aggravate diarrhea. Replace these drinks with sports drink which will help rehydrate your body.

If you have mild diarrhea, there is nothing much to worry about. But in case you observe blood and mucus in your stool it is important to consult your doctor immediately.

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