Stomach Virus During Pregnancy

By Kieth | May 31, 2012

A stomach virus can affect anyone and with no apparent cause. It becomes slightly risky during a pregnancy to contract any infection, even a general stomach virus. During a pregnancy, most doctors avoid giving medications or drugs to the mother. This tends to make it more difficult for the mother to get through any infection.

Symptoms of stomach virus

Stomach bugs or stomach flu are often caused by viruses. Occasionally a bacterial infection can also cause it. The easiest way to distinguish this infection from food poisoning or morning sickness is that the stomach virus infection will be accompanied by fever, stomach cramps and even diarrhea.

Some other stomach virus symptoms include:

  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pains
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches

The fear of dehydration is the biggest fear when afflicted with a stomach virus during pregnancy. Dehydration can be tricky and could even lead to miscarriage. You should keep a lookout for symptoms of dehydration too:

  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • No urine or dark yellow urine

A stomach virus during pregnancy does not normally affect the baby. However, a prolonged infection can reduce your food intake which can lead to less nutrition for your baby. In most cases however, a stomach virus infection typically resolves itself in a few days.

Treating stomach virus in pregnancy

The best way to treat the stomach virus, even during pregnancy, is to let the infection take its course and help your body do its job. You should rest -- nap or sit with your feet up and reduce the physical stress on your body. Your body will also lose fluids very fast so concentrate on staying hydrated. Drink water, diluted juice, coconut water, light soups, decaffeinated or mild tea, or hot water mixed with lemon.

  • Try ice chips or Popsicles if you are not able to retain any regular food.
  • Dehydration should be avoided so take special care in replenishing fluids. You can even try rehydration solutions depending on the severity of the infection. Oral rehydrating solutions are available in drugstores and do not need prescriptions. In case of acute dehydration, sometimes a trip to the emergency room becomes necessary, where fluids are replaced using intravenous methods.
  • There are some over-the-counter medicines that you can also take. Start with soft, easily digestible, bland food like dry toast, mashed bananas, apple sauce or even diluted yogurt. Diluted yogurt might even help your stomach as the bacteria in it can restore the good bacteria in the damaged stomach lining. Slowly you can even introduce carbohydrate-rich food like bread and potatoes. Avoid dairy products, excessively rich food and caffeine till the infection is flushed out.

You need to avoid drugs like Imodium even if you have symptoms of diarrhea. These medications are not recommended when you are pregnant. If you feel the need for medication, check with your practitioner. Antacids and gas relief tablets are usually considered safe even during pregnancies.

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