What is Pregnancy Diarrhea?
Here are the Answers from PregnancyMama.



Pregnancy diarrhea can be a normal sign of pregnancy or it may be a sign of complication that may endanger pregnancy. In medical terms diarrhea can be defined as watery or loose stools, or the frequent movement of bowel. When these watery stools happen at least thrice a day and last for a minimum of 2 days during pregnancy, it is termed pregnancy diarrhea.

For most women however, it’s rationalized as a normal side effect of pregnancy because it begins shortly after gestation and nearly resolves as the baby is born. Now, let’s examine the causes of diarrhea during pregnancy.

Causes of Pregnancy Diarrhea

Although vast majority of expecting moms complains of constipation than diarrhea during pregnancy, but in some women diarrhea is either more common or is followed by constipation.

The cause of pregnancy diarrhea can be different from the factors that lead to constipation during pregnancy but in majority of the cases, hormonal changes during pregnancy is the most common cause of diarrhea in pregnancy.

Diarrhea during pregnancy can as well result from infectious food intake; such foods that is contaminated with fecal matter or disease-causing infectious bacteria.

It’s popularly recommended that every pregnant woman eats good and nutritious food during pregnancy but excessive food intake may also contribute to diarrhea during pregnancy. Alongside, excessive water intake and even the pregnancy workouts may also give rise to diarrhea.

In some women, cases of pregnancy diarrhea triggered by prenatal vitamin intake have been suspected and reported; nevertheless, most of such cases are resolved merely by changing the brand of prenatal vitamin being taken.

Apart from the above stated reasons, there are also some causative factors for diarrhea during pregnancy than the hormonal fluctuations or uncontrolled lifestyle, intestinal parasites, food poisoning, and even random stomach flu can result into diarrhea.

If you believe that any of the afore-mentioned factors maybe the most likely reason for your watery stool, we advise you consult your healthcare provider so that you can undergo necessary tests and get appropriate treatment for pregnancy-related diarrhea.

Finally you must understand that your body releases prostaglandins, substances that foster uterine contraction, as you approach the end of your pregnancy especially in a few days to labor. Studies have shown that these substances may cause diarrhea – an experience of loose bowel movements in build-up to labor.

Here is an important thing you need to know about Pregnancy Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is usually far less common during pregnancy than constipation and often does not last for long. If you get diarrhoea for more than a couple of days, you’re to inform your doctor regardless of how mild it may seem. Pregnancy-related diarrhea doesn't only cause pain and agony but can also result into dehydration.

What can I do about Pregnancy Diarrhea?

For pregnancy-related diarrhea, you’re advised to avoid foods that can stimulate your bowel or make your situation worse.

For example, fatty or spicy foods, dry fruits, and milk especially if you can’t tolerate lactose (I mean if you’re lactose intolerant). Fatty foods can trigger or aggravate diarrhea during pregnancy, so you should avoid them.

Usually, BRAT diet is recommended ( bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast) and some vital minerals such as zinc and vitamins should be included.

BRAT foods may help your digestive tract to a great level but you can also take the following foods to be on the safe side:

  • Starchy foods such as potatoes, crackers and unsweetened cereals.
  • Vegetables, for example cooked carrots, rice and soup containing noodles with non-milk base.
  • Lean meat.
  • Yoghurt, containing live culture of lactobacillus acidophilus.

You’re advised to avoid drinks containing high amounts of sugar, for example gelatin, apples and grapes juice, regular colas and other soft drinks as they have the potential to protract diarrhea longer than normal.

Sport drinks for example, Gatorade and electrolyte-replacement favorite are safer options along with the pure water intake. These can also help to compensate for the fluids loss or dehydration due to incessant episodes of watery stools.

It should be noted that you’re to avoid diarrhea medications that contain sodium or sodium bicarbonate as they aren’t safe for use during pregnancy. This is a vital reason why your doctor’s guide is indispensable in treating diarrhea during pregnancy.

In case of severe diarrhea, involving more than three watery stools per day, or stools containing blood or mucus, or simply liquid in nature, you’re to consult your doctor immediately, as this can be dangerous or harmful to you and your baby’s health.

How can Pregnancy Diarrhea affect my Baby’s Health?

  • Prolonged diarrhea during pregnancy may also lead to poor fetal weight gain and growth retardation especially in case of associated severe calorie deficiency.
  • Diarrhea during Pregnancy may lead to pre-mature delivery of the baby due to stimulation of uterine contractions.
  • If diarrhea is developed in the first few months of pregnancy gestation, the risk of miscarriage is also high.
  • Most expecting moms who develop frequent episodes of diarrhea are more likely to develop low blood pressure, electrolytes or salt/mineral imbalance and nutritional deficiency if no adequate care is taken.

It’s therefore recommended that expecting moms experiencing diarrhea should seek treatment as soon as possible in the event of incessant pregnancy diarrhea that doesn’t resolve in 24 hours.

Don’t do self medication for more than 24 hours. Call your healthcare provider and get the prescription that’s safe for you. Be sure to follow all given instructions necessary to avoid possible complications from diarrhea during pregnancy.

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