Diarrhea During Pregnancy: Causes & Remedies
Pregnancy can bring a lot of physical discomfort to women and digestive disorders, including diarrhea are one of the most common ones.
Constipation is what affects the most to women who have just conceived, but one cannot deny the fact that diarrhea can visit pregnant mothers during the early stages of pregnancy.
Most of the times, diarrhea during pregnancy is short-lived but if it persists, it can prove to be a serious problem and sometimes even lethal.
If you suffer from the condition in which the stool’s consistency is looser than normal, and experience more than three watery stools in a day, you must get yourself to learn more about diarrhea during pregnancy.
Is it normal?
Well, diarrhea occurs when your digestive system malfunctions.
During pregnancy, the digestive system can either slow down or speed up and speeding up is what can cause diarrhea. The slow functioning of digestive system generally hits pregnant women and causes constipation.
Several pregnant women have reported that they were affected with diarrhea during the first trimester of pregnancy. But, there is nothing to worry as it’s considered normal.
What causes diarrhea during pregnancy?
When you have a baby inside your bump, you are sure to change physically and mentally. Your body weakens and you don’t have urge to eat anything most of the times.
Your digestive system undergoes different changes during pregnancy. Hormones start to rise and you get affected with one way or the other.
There can be several causes of diarrhea during pregnancy, some of which are listed below:
Pregnancy Hormones.The hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) increase in our body when pregnant. These hormones also cause vomiting, cravings, nausea and direct effect on digestive system.
These effects are present in every mom-to-be during the first trimester of pregnancy but only a few suffer from diarrhea.
Change in Diet. Obviously, you must have changed your diet since the day you found out you are pregnant. The changes that you make in your diet during pregnancy can be another cause of diarrhea, but make sure you avoid some food to stay on the safe side.
Lactose Intolerance. Pregnant women tend to increase their consumption of milk from early trimester which can result in lactose intolerance. The lactose intolerance can in turn cause diarrhea and other digestive abnormalities.
Although you can stop diarrhea by reducing the consumption of milk for some days, you should not forget to take calcium from other dairy products like yogurt and cheese.
Sensitivities Regarding Food. There is no denying to the fact that your body changes during pregnancy and sometimes the food that had no effect on your before pregnancy can upset your stomach during pregnancy. This food sensitivity that your body acquires during pregnancy can be another cause of diarrhea.
Vitamins. The prenatal vitamins that you consume during pregnancy can effectively upset your stomach and trouble you with diarrhea. Although you must be consuming vitamins for the sake of your own and your baby’s health, you can consult your doctor about the vitamins if diarrhea persists.
Others: Apart from the causes specific to pregnancy, there can be several general causes for your diarrhea. Bacteria, stomach flu, some medications as well as food poisoning are some causes of diarrhea. Sometimes, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and conditions like ulcerative colitis and celiac disease can be responsible for frequent diarrhea.
How to prevent diarrhea during pregnancy?
Now that we know the causes of diarrhea during pregnancy, we can use the following methods to prevent it altogether. You can use the following home based prevention methods to avoid the discomfort of diarrhea in your special nine months:
- Cut down milk intake and rather focus on other sources of calcium during pregnancy if you are lactose intolerant.
- Consuming coffee, tea and other energy drinks should be avoided.
- Reduce spicy and fatty foods from your diet as they can be hard to digest and give you diarrhea very easily.
- Stop drinking sodas, caffeinated drinks and in general avoid drinks with high sugar content.
How to get rid of diarrhea during pregnancy?
Sometimes, all of your efforts to prevent diarrhea can go wrong and you ultimately suffer from diarrhea.
However, there is no need to panic as you can use the following ways to treat diarrhea on your own:
Stop consuming problematic foods. It may not be easy to do, but if you are suffering from diarrhea during pregnancy, the first thing to do is completely cutting off food that can worsen diarrhea.
Fatty foods, dried fruits, spices, caffeinated and carbonated drinks as well as red meat should be completely cut-off from your diet as soon as possible.
Drink a lot of water. Do not forget to hydrate yourself with a lot of water, juices and broths when you suffer from diarrhea during pregnancy. Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) is one of the best solutions for controlling and treating diarrhea and the method also includes adding salt and sugar along with supplemental zinc in water and drinking it for around two weeks.
Take care of your medications. During pregnancy, you should at all times consider your doctor’s consultation before buying any OTC medication. Same goes for diarrhea during pregnancy. Sometimes, taking new medicine can also cause diarrhea but the span is quite short as your body starts adjusting to the new medicines. If it does not happen, you should not hesitate to seek medical attention.
Take soothing diets. You can treat diarrhea during pregnancy by soothing your digestive system with diets consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce and toast along with cooked carrots, lean meats, yogurt and starchy foods.
These foods can help your digestive system relax a bit, eventually getting rid of diarrhea while also providing you with good nutrients.
When To Seek Medical Help?
Pregnancy is a very sensitive time of any woman’s life. During pregnancy, you are not just looking after your own body but you also have to make sure that the baby inside of you has a great environment to live.
This means, any physical discomfort you feel during pregnancy can have an effect in your baby and so does diarrhea.
If you are suffering from diarrhea during pregnancy and are not sure when to go to your doctor’s, look out for these symptoms. If you see one or more of these symptoms, you must visit your doctor immediately:
- If the diarrhea persists for more than two days.
- If you can see blood or mucus in the stool.
- If there is severe stomach pain or cramping.
- If you have severe headache.
- If there is vomiting.
- If these is presence of fever above 100 degrees F.
- If the amount of urine is reduced significantly.
- If your heartbeat is abnormally rapid.
Using the above methods, you can easily cope up with diarrhea during pregnancy. Otherwise, your doctor is always there to help you through.