Is it normal to have diarrhea during pregnancy?

(April 4, 2012)

What are the symptoms and causes diarrhea during pregnancy?

It is not very common for pregnant women to suffer from diarrhea, but there have been a few instances of diarrhea during pregnancy. Diarrhea is not a condition; rather, it is a symptom of certain underlying conditions.

Causes of diarrhea during pregnancy

There could be several different causes of diarrhea during pregnancy, some of which include:

  • Hormonal changes: It takes a while for your body to get used to the surge in hormones, which is a common part of pregnancy. Till your gastrointestinal system adjusts to the changes, you could suffer from diarrhea.
  • Dietary alterations: One of the first changes you are likely to change when you know that you are pregnant is your diet. The intake of fresh fruits, veggies, grains and other healthy foods could have a cleansing effect on your body, by flushing out the toxins from your digestive system. The increased intake of water also has the same effect.
  • Food poisoning: In case you happen to consume contaminated food or water during the course of pregnancy, you may suffer from severe diarrhea. This is quite serious and should be addressed by your doctor immediately.
  • Labor: Towards the end of the third trimester, women have been known to experience diarrhea when they go into labor.
Symptoms of diarrhea during pregnancy

The symptoms of diarrhea during pregnancy are no different from the usual diarrhea signs. You will know that you have diarrhea if you:

  • Pass watery stool more than 3 times a day
  • Experience cramps and pain in the abdominal area
  • Have fever
  • Suffer from a bloating sensation in the stomach

Diarrhea during pregnancy can be quite serious, as it could lead to dehydration and loss of nutrients. Therefore, you need to consult your doctor as soon as you notice any of the symptoms of diarrhea.

Submitted by P T on April 4, 2012 at 07:13

Is diarrhea during pregnancy dangerous?

Many women wonder if having diarrhea during pregnancy is a normal occurrence. During pregnancy, you are more likely to suffer from constipation, because of the changes in your hormonal levels and your diet. However, there are women who have also suffered from bouts of diarrhea during pregnancy. Many people believe that diarrhea could be one of the causes of miscarriage.

Diarrhea does not directly lead to a miscarriage, but it could cause major complications, like dehydration, loss of nutrients and weight loss. Therefore, if it is not controlled on time, diarrhea could pose a threat to you and you baby. At times diarrhea could be a symptom for an underlying problem, which needs to be checked and treated immediately. That is why you need to inform your doctor as soon as you pass watery stools once or twice.

Doctors usually do not recommend medication for diarrhea, especially during pregnancy. Initially, you will be asked to make some dietary changes to ease the pressure on your digestive system. The BRAT diet, which includes Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast, is usually very effective for controlling diarrhea. Other foods that you could add to your diet are potatoes, crackers, lean meat and yogurt. Make sure that you drink about half a glass of water, every half hour, so that you do not get dehydrated. Sports drinks are also quite healthy.

Women having diarrhea during pregnancy need to strictly avoid certain foods, like milk and dairy products, dried fruits (especially prunes), caffeine, carbonated beverages, fatty and fried foods, sweets and spices.

If you are suffering from bad diarrhea during pregnancy (more than three watery stools per day) or if you see blood or mucus in your stool, you need to visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Submitted by N H on March 13, 2012 at 04:06

Diarrhea During Pregnancy

It is unfortunate but true that many pregnant women suffer from diarrhea during pregnancy. This could be mainly because they have intolerance towards lactose, some hormonal or dietary changes have taken place in their body, or their sensitivity to certain food has increased during their pregnancy. Diarrhea during pregnancy is fortunately something that is short-lived and there is no need for concern. It is important, however, that you get in touch with your healthcare provider if diarrhea is accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting. Care has to be taken that dehydration does not take place.  

Sometimes, changes in hormone levels cause diarrhea during pregnancy. This happens especially when there are increased levels of the progesterone hormone in the body. However, do make sure that all other things have been ruled out before this symptom is characterized as normal. If you have not traveled outside the US, malaria and other tropical diseases can be an unlikely cause for diarrhea.

Many women suffer from diarrhea just before they begin labor. This is one way in which the body prepares for delivery. Severe diarrhea could also be due to food poisoning or some viruses. In some cases candies that are sugar free may contribute to bowel problems in the latter months of your pregnancy. If diarrhea during your pregnancy is a chronic problem it is best that you re-evaluate your diet. Women who suffer from gastrointestinal problems may suffer from chronic and occasional diarrhea.  

If you are constipated and haven’t had a bowel movement for a few days, after which you develop diarrhea that is watery, it might mean that you have fecal impaction. A complete or partial obstruction of your large bowel is caused by hard and impacted stool. Watery stool may leak and it may look like you have diarrhea. This is accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, pain in the abdomen, and a bloated stomach. It generally indicates that you have an intestinal obstruction and you require immediate treatment.   

It is important that you remain hydrated when you suffer from diarrhea during pregnancy. Include foods that are rich in fiber such as fruits and vegetables in your diet. If mild diarrhea is caused due to food poisoning, you should improve in about 24 hours or so. Make sure that your water intake is high during your pregnancy as this will keep you hydrated. If you exhibit symptoms such as abdominal pain and/or fever when suffering from diarrhea and your stool has some blood or mucus, immediately call your health care provider.    

Submitted by P T on July 8, 2010 at 01:34

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