Diarrhea During Pregnancy
Diarrhea is not as common as constipation during pregnancy, but the risk of it occurring while pregnant can increase.
Constipation can actually be the problem. If you have not had a bowel movement for a few days, the bowels can become impacted with hard stool and watery stool behind it can leak pass it. If this is the case, you will need to treat the constipation/impaction.
Causes of diarrhea include:
- prenatal vitamins (if your prenatal vitamins are causing you diarrhea, speak with your health care provider about an alternative)
- dietary changes
- stomach flu (pregnancy can cause some women to become more susceptible to viruses)
- food poisoning (diarrhea normally occurs suddenly and violently and only lasts about 24 hours)
- certain antacids and antibiotics.
Many women experience diarrhea right before they go into labor. Some believe this happens because the body is preparing room for the delivery.
Treating Diarrhea Naturally
It is best to avoid medications if possible, especially during pregnancy.
Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration (dehydration is a common cause of premature labor). Drink water and electrolyte replacement beverages. Avoid juices, soft drinks, and other high-sugar drinks. Caffeine should also be avoided.
Eat only bland foods, such as:
- brown rice
- applesauce (not apple juice)
- toast (whole grain bread)
- plain yogurt with active cultures.
These foods will add bulk to the stool and replace “good” bacteria in the intestines so you should continue eating them for a few days after your diarrhea clears up.
The following herbal teas can help relieve diarrhea during pregnancy:
• Prepare a cup of ginger tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of grated ginger root, cover, steep for 5-10 minutes, and strain.
• Prepare a cup of chamomile tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of fresh chamomile flowers (or 1 teaspoon of dried flowers), cover, steep for 10 minutes, and strain.
To help treat your diarrhea even more, squeeze some fresh lemon juice in your cup of tea.
Notify your health care provider if:
- the diarrhea does not clear up in a couple of days
- it is severe
- you become dehydrated
- your diarrhea is accompanied with vomiting, fever, or pain
- your stools are bloody or mucousy.
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