Digestive problems like indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea occur frequently during pregnancy. 40 percent of pregnant women suffer from diarrhea, especially in the third semester. Diarrhea can be defined as a loose, watery bowel movement that may happen frequently and, as a result, causes dehydration in the body. If you have more than three loose movements of bowel in a day, you probably have diarrhea.
Is Diarrhea During Pregnancy Normal?
Diarrhea is pretty normal in pregnancy especially in the last couple of months. Although, any particular reason is debated among experts. People often ask if Diarhhea is normal in the first trimester or third trimester. Its nothing to worry about. If you see no symptoms to fret about and no signs of infections like pus in stools and urine, fever, etc, you can relax. Take plenty of rest. Go for home remedies. Follow a good diet. Maintain hygiene. Diarrhea will subside in 2 days on its own. Mild diarrhea doesn’t affect pregnancy.
If you do get traveler’s diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids to keep from getting dehydrated. Avoid dairy products and caffeinated drinks, which might make diarrhea worse. To be on the safe side, you may want to see a healthcare provider just in case you need antidiarrheal medication or some other treatment.
Causes of Diarrhea in Pregnancy
- Physical and hormonal changes can cause diarrhea.
- There can be other reasons as well like, food poisoning, bowel disorders, or an infection.
- It can be alterations in diet, routine, and lifestyle.
- Stress can be one of the hidden reasons.
- Gas formation in the stomach.
- Increased prostaglandin levels that help to incite contractions can be another reason for diarrhea in the third trimester.
- ‘Misoprostol’ can have diarrhea as a side-effect. Doctors give misoprostol to induce labor.
- Consuming carbonated drinks, sugars and chemicals can also cause diarrhea.
- Prenatal vitamins can also have an upset stomach as a side-effect.
- Inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, ulcers, etc can lead to diarrhea.
Diarrhea in Pregnancy: Symptoms
Pregnant women may encounter these symptoms:
- loose and watery stools
- an uncontrollable urge for a bowel movement
- abdominal cramping
- bloody stools
- chills and fever
- exhaustion and fatigue
- gas and bloating
How to Deal With Diarrhea in Pregnancy?
- Don’t panic.
- Hydrate yourself. Take a lot of fluids
- Take ORS frequently.
- Eat light and home-cooked food
- Take plenty of rest
- Maintain hygiene. Wash hands and sanitize well frequently, especially after every visit to the bathroom.
- Ask your doctor to prescribe you medicines
- Avoid sodas and sports drink.
How to Prevent Diarrhea in Pregnancy?
Diarrhea is avoidable. Small steps and mindful precautions can helps you keep diarrhea at bay. You can practice these tips to prevent diarrhea.
- Eat fresh and healthy foods. Make sure your food is prepared in a cleaned environment and washed thoroughly before cooking.
- Consume clean drinking water always.
- Avoid eating outside.
- Eat smaller meals. This will allow body to digest properly before next meal.
- Peel-off fruits skin before eating.
- Mind the amount of fiber intake.
- Stay away from processed food and unpasteurized dairy.
- Avoid raw meats and uncooked eggs.
- Wash hands frequently.
- Maintain hygiene
- If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Keep a doctor-prescribed medicine with you always.
- If you are traveling while pregnant, make sure what you eat and drink is clean.
- Avoid touching uncleaned food and surfaces. This can give you viral infection and thus diarrhea.
Diarrhea in Pregnancy: Home Remedies
For pregnant women with severe diarrhea, Thinks twice before consuming anything. Talk to your doctor before consuming anything stated below or by yourself.
- Increase fluid intake. Soups, juices, water, ORS, and other electrolytes will do.
- Mix some salt and sugar in purified drinking water. Drink it sip-by-sip for at least 2 days.
- Follow the BRAT diet. This includes Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast. These foods are light on the abdomen and they help in the building of stools.
- Lemon helps in stimulating the liver, thereby aiding in healthy bowel movements. Lime water is best known to stop diarrhea. Squeeze one lemon+ one tsp sugar+ one pinch of salt in a glass of water. Drink this thrice a day.
- Take flaxseed oil. It helps in curbing diarrhea and constipation, both.
- Take a quarter tsp of black pepper powder. Mix it in a glass of water + 2-3 tsp of honey. Drink this once daily. This drink will help in controlling loose and frequent bowel movements.
- You can also take glutamine powder. This will balance mucus production and act as a catalyst in bowel movements.
- Bentonite clay is rich in sodium and potassium. You take a tsp of bentonite clay with water twice daily, but strictly after your doctor approves.
- Consuming activated charcoal also helps in stopping diarrhea. Again ask your health care provider before taking it.
- Psyllium husk when eaten with banana stops diarrhea completely. Psyllium husk is said to absorb the water content in the intestines which helps in getting rid of diarrhea swiftly.
Diarrhea in Pregnancy: Foods to Eat
- Soft, juicy, and pulpy fruits like bananas, avocado, melons
- Boiled or steamed vegetables like carrots, potatoes, pumpkins, bottle gourd, potatoes
- Low fiber food like bread, rice, crackers, wheat, oats.
- White meat like chicken, turkey
- Scrambled eggs
- Bones broth
- Coconut water
- Apple juice
- Sugar and salt water
Diarrhea in Pregnancy: Foods to Avoid
- Milk and dairy products. Yogurt is okay to consume
- Fried and fatty foods
- Meats like pork, salmon, and sardines
- Fiber-rich vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, onions, corns, etc
- Citrus fruits like pineapples, oranges grapefruits
- Berry fruits like cherries, berries, raisins, figs, tomatoes
- Beverages like soda, tea, coffee, soft drinks
- Candys and chocolates
Can Diarrhea Be a Sign of Labor?
Abdominal cramps with or without loose bowel movement may be a sign of approaching labor. If you encounter these signs before 36 weeks of pregnancy. This may be a bell of preterm labor.
Other indications of impending labor other than uncontrolled bowel movement may include
- Pelvic pressure
- Back pain
- Water break
- Vaginal discharge
Call your healthcare provider without delaying.
When to Call a Doctor?
Diarrhea can cause life-threatening dehydration in pregnant women and the unborn baby. If you don’t feel okay call the get urgent medical care. Call the doctor if,
- Diarrhea persists for more than 3 days.
- You have fever
- Severe pain in the abdomen
- Infection in rectum
- Vomiting continuously
- Black tarry stools
- Bloody stools
- Pus in urine or stools
- Fatigue and dizziness
- You are unable to keep fluids put
- You feel like having contractions