You often hear that constipation is common during pregnancy, right? But here is a little known fact that diarrhea also affects many pregnant women, caused from one reason or another. This time the hormones are not so much to be blamed. Diarrhea could be a result of other things and you can easily deal with it.
The condition of diarrhea
Diarrhea is the condition of passing watery stool at a frequent rate. If you find yourself having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements in twenty-four hours, it means you have diarrhea. Where your body is losing so much fluid within a short space of time, you will get dehydrated, because the walls of your cells have collapsed. You cannot allow this to happen during pregnancy. Dehydration can be fatal. You ought to consult your doctor
Possible causes of your diarrhea
Lifestyle changes – Some women get a bit of running belly when they become pregnant but it is more of the changes that you made in your diet that cause you a loose tummy. Your food change may be due to you not being comfortable eating certain foods as your taste and smell all undergo changes. Pregnancy hormones can cause sensitivity to some foods. It is suggested also that your diarrhea could be associated with the increased amount of water that you are drinking at this time. Your prenatal vitamin may be the cause of your loose bowels. Some women are forced to consider other brands when this happens.
Hormonal changes – Pregnancy is a time when hormones play a major role in the development of your baby. Your body usually undergoes a lot of changes especially in the first trimester. Many symptoms also emerge as a result at this time and diarrhea is sometimes one of them.
Fecal impaction – A bi-product of hormonal changes is constipation which occurs due to the slowing down of the bowels. Bowel matters can become hard from such slow movement and makes it difficult for you to pass out waste. If you have not had a bowel movement for days and you suddenly are having watery stool, you could be having what is referred to as fecal impaction. This is a condition where loose stool that is further up the digestive tract is squeezing pass the hard stool and it is seen as diarrhea.
Non-pregnancy causes – Not all diarrhea is related to pregnancy. Some outside influences could be the cause. Bacteria and viruses that affect you prior to your pregnancy could be at work at this time. Usually these are more severe reactions than what would be caused by pregnancy itself. Food poisoning could be a source of your diarrhea. Some foods also could cause adverse reaction in your digestive tract including sugar-free candies and dairy products, especially if you are lactose intolerant. Be mindful also that if you had some type of digestive disorder they may still act up during pregnancy. Therefore women who have conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticulitis could see themselves occasionally having diarrhea which is a symptom of their problem.
Third trimester diarrhea
Diarrhea however is more common during the third trimester of pregnancy. When some women are near their time to give birth they may have diarrhea as a signal that they are near the time of labor. This can occur days or weeks before the onset of labor. It does not mean however that when you have diarrhea your labor will start. It only means that your body is getting ready for the action.
Ways to treat diarrhea during pregnancy
Regular mild diarrhea will normally clear up in a few days. In the meantime there are ways that you can treat the symptoms to get back to living normally and healthily for your baby’s development.
- Stay hydrated
This is one of the first lessons that you will learn when you have diarrhea, to drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydrated. You can have lots of water, fruit juices, and soup broths to replenish your cells and replace electrolytes that can easily get dried out from all that water you’ve been losing.
- Change your diet
Some foods have been recommended to be the best for your loose bowel issues. Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast referred to as the BRAT diet are often recommended because they are mild on the digestive tract. You could also improve on this to include those foods that will provide other nutrients. You can include other starchy foods such as potatoes (the sweet type is especially filled with important nutrients), crackers, and non-sweetened cereals. Eat more compact vegetables such as carrots. Lean meats will provide you with the protein you need while avoiding any fat that could make your diarrhea worse. Yogurt with live active cultures of bacteria are also said to be not just helpful, but healthy.
- Try home-made remedies
You could also try some homemade brews that are soothing to the stomach and digestive tract. The enzymes from ginger steeped in boiling water are good for settling digestive issues and makes a great tea drink too. You can also mix some honey and water and have this once per day. Water mixed with peppermint extracts taken the same way can ease your condition. So too is a blend of ginger powder, lemon juice and a bit of black pepper taken 2 times daily.
- Use safe anti-diarrheal medication
Severe diarrhea may require more drastic measures to stop its progress and prevent harm to you and the baby. There are several anti-diarrhea medicines that are considered safe to take. However, it is best to take them on the advice and supervision of your doctor. All drugs must be taken with the utmost of care and responsibility. Imodium is an FDA approved medicine that can be taken by women who are older than 12 weeks pregnant. This drug should only be taken for 24 hours. Polycarbophil and Kaopectate are also permitted as they are considered safe.
Foods to avoid
Some foods can make diarrhea worse. Therefore it is highly recommended that you stay away from them. These include fatty, spicy, and dairy foods. Other foods include carbonated and caffeinated drinks, prunes, red meat and refined sugary products such as candies and chocolate. You will also do well without eating fibrous foods.
When you should see the Doctor
Mild cases of diarrhea should not be anything to worry about. These can be treated normally with home remedies and recommended foods to replace lost nutrients. Usually your diarrhea will clear up in a day or two. However, where you are having three or more watery stools in one day and the condition persists, it is time to talk to your doctor. In addition, if your diarrhea is accompanied by other symptoms, this is a more serious case that requires urgent attention.
Call your doctor or midwife if the diarrhea is “explosive”, you are having severe abdominal pain, fever, and dry mouth. Consider it urgent also if your stool has blood or mucous, and you are feeling dizzy. These are signs of dehydration. Your case gets worse if you are feeling fewer kicks from the baby, cramps are appearing, there is pressure on your pelvis and there is a vaginal discharge.