Vomiting and watery diarrhea while pregnant is common. Some women, very few, are lucky and will feel the best they’ve ever felt while they’re pregnant. For most women, they’ll feel completely sick, they’ll be throwing up every morsel of food that they eat and they’re glued to the toilet seat because they feel like they’re going to explode.
It’s not a fun or exciting situation to envision, but it’s the reality for most women.
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What Causes Diarrhea While Pregnant
Loose bowel movements can happen, and when you experience three or more of these bowel movements in a day, there is a good chance that you have diarrhea. The good news is that this is common during pregnancy, so there is no cause for real concern at this time.
And there are several reasons for diarrhea:
- Stomach flu
There are other medical or health conditions that can cause you to have diarrhea more often: celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease to name a few.
Now, if you do not fall within any of these criteria, you’ll find out that there are pregnancy-related causes of diarrhea as well. Let’s take a look at quite a few causes that are pregnancy-related for having diarrhea:
Dramatic dietary changes are common when pregnant. The shift to new foods, especially fiber-rich foods, can cause your stomach to hurt and result in you having diarrhea.
2. Food Sensitivities
Your stomach is expanding and your body is filled with more hormones than you’ve ever experienced before. Food sensitivities will start to present themselves. Foods that you enjoy on a weekly basis may all of a sudden cause you to have diarrhea, gas or indigestion.
Prenatal vitamins are going to be given to you by your medical professional almost the moment that you find out your pregnant. These good-for-you vitamins can actually cause your stomach to hurt and result in diarrhea. If you have diarrhea while pregnant during the first trimester, it’s a good chance it’s due to a dietary or vitamin change.
4. Hormone Changes
The digestive system in the body slows down, and this can cause you to have acid reflux and even results in constipation. Hormones can also cause the exact opposite change – the hormones can cause your digestive system to go into hyper-drive.
The bad news for all mothers-to-be is that diarrhea while pregnant in the second trimester is nothing compared to the third trimester. If you’ve been struggling with diarrhea already, the final trimester will make matters even worse.
As the body prepares for the labor process, you’ll start to have diarrhea. This doesn’t mean that labor is just a matter of days away, so don’t get your hopes too high. Instead, it can still be weeks or months until you meet the beautiful baby inside of you. But every pregnancy is different, and some women will have no diarrhea at all.
Severe Diarrhea Concerns
For most women, diarrhea isn’t much of a concern. Your body is going through changes, and it’s going to be a rough ride all around as you’ve fully understood since you’ve gotten pregnant. But there is a concern in severe cases.
When you have watery diarrhea, you’ll want to increase your intake of water. The water consistency will cause your body to become dehydrated over time. The more you go, the more you’ll become dehydrated. Doctors state that once you feel like you’re thirsty, you’re already 2% – 3% dehydrated at this point.
This is the major concern when you have diarrhea.
Doctors recommend drinking more water when you’re pregnant, and this is even more important if you have watery stool. So, a good rule of thumb is to drink a cup of water each time you have a watery bowel movement to ensure that you’re properly hydrated.
Remedies and Treatment for Diarrhea While Pregnant
You’re probably wondering what to take to relax your frequent trips to the bathroom, but doctors normally try to take a wait-and-see approach. Pregnant mothers shouldn’t be taking any unnecessary medications to try and treat something that is not serious.
But there are a few things you can do prior to seeing a medical professional:
1. Wait and See
For most women or people in general, it’s a good idea to wait a few days to see if the problem clears up on its own. Simply give it time to clear up. Food poisoning, a virus or a bug can take a few days to work its way out of your system. The only word of caution is to ensure that you’re hydrated.
2. Eliminate Problem Foods
Problematic foods should be avoided to ensure that the diarrhea doesn’t get worse. A few foods to avoid are:
- Spicy foods (here is why)
- Milk and dairy
So, you still have diarrhea and it has lasted 2 – 3 days without any relief. If this happens to you, it’s time to sit down and discuss your options with your doctor. You may be surprised to hear that your doctor recommends waiting longer to see if the issue corrects itself, or your doctor may prescribe you medication. A physical exam is needed and blood will likely be drawn.
Your doctor will try and determine the root cause for diarrhea. Bacteria or parasites may be responsible for your diarrhea, and medication may be given to relieve your symptoms.
It’s extremely important that you avoid taking any over-the-counter medications at this time. You always want to discuss your options with your doctor as over-the-counter products are normally not recommended to pregnant women.
Over-the-counter products are normally not tested on pregnant women, and they may conflict with any medications you may be taking already.
Green Diarrhea While Pregnant
The color of your stool, at least when it is green, is not a cause for concern. You may be eating foods that are high in chlorophyll or even taking vitamins that don’t look green, but they can still cause you to have green diarrhea. And there are many reasons for green diarrhea from the food you ate a day or two ago to pure luck.
When your baby is finally here, you’ll also start to notice that he or she has green bowel movements – or several other colors – its normal.
The time when you need to be concerned is when you have bloody diarrhea or black diarrhea. Any time you have a black bowel movement, it’s a good idea to consult with your medical professional. The major concern is that the black is being caused by internal bleeding that has hardened and dried. If this is the case, your doctor will run a battery of tests to ensure that nothing is wrong internally.
Blood can be caused by over exertion due to constipation while pregnant, but this shouldn’t occur if you haven’t had constipation and have had diarrhea.
If you eat a lot of fiber-rich foods, such as beans, you may want to cut back on consumption until your diarrhea has been relieved. High-fiber diets may be good for helping push food through the body, but they can also cause you to have runny stool or diarrhea as a result.
Remember, if the problem persists for more than 2 – 3 days, contact your doctor to have a full examination done.