Though women complain of being constipated during pregnancy, the opposite–diarrhoea–is also common. It refers to watery stools that lead to frequent bowel movements that make pregnant women very uncomfortable and weak.
Diarrhoea is not a symptom of pregnancy
If you have three or more watery stools in a day, it confirms that you have diarrhoea. There are two types of diarrhoea, so identify the one you have:
- Acute diarrhoea: This is caused by viruses and bacteria. It lasts for a few days and is mild, it is viral, but if severe, it is due to bacteria.
- Chronic diarrhoea: is usually due to non-infectious causes.It causes a host of illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and malabsorption syndromes.
Diarrhoea is due to all the symptoms that take root outside your body and are not necessarily harmful to you. It could also be due to the food and drink that is supposed to be good for you in your condition or even the workouts that you’re doing now. Often, pregnant women find that their prenatal vitamin makes them have runny tummies too.
Other contributory reasons of diarrhoea during pregnancy include food poisoning, stomach flu, virus, bacteria, medications or intestinal parasites.If you think that the diarrhoea you suffer from is due to one of these reasons, speak to your gynaec immediately so that you can have immediate treatment.
If you suffer from diarrhoea for two days, see your doctor immediately. Check for these symptoms if you are pregnant:
- Severe stomach ache, headache and vomiting
- Blood or mucus in the stool
- Fever with temperature above 100̊̊ degrees F
- Low flow of urine
- Rapid heart beat
Can diarrhoea harm your health?
Diarrhoea affects not just your health, but also your baby’s. It makes the body lose a lot of water and essential nutrients. If you have watery stools more than three times each day and you aren’t drinking sufficient liquids, diarrhoea could dehydrate you and cause some more complications, if left untreated.
At-a-glance facts about diarrhoea: As a pregnant woman, it’s important for you to recognize its signs. First, if diarrhoea stays longer with you than two days, speak to your doctor. It could then cause dehydration, which could be a risk factor for premature birth. So, don’t put diarrhoea down to a passing something.
What to do: Before you ring your doctor, do the following:
- Stop eating foods that will worsen the problem, such as prunes, dried fruits, milk, fatty and spicy foods. Instead, eat bananas, toast, rice and applesauce.
- Also, eat vitamin and zinc-rich foods such as potatoes and plain cereals, vegetables, noodles, rice and vegetables with non-milk based soups; lean meats and yogurt.
- Stop drinking apple or grape juice, colas and soft drinks and gelatin, which can direct water into your stomach and ensure that your diarrhoea lasts longer. Sports drinks and water are good, enriching options. However, avoid fried and fatty foods and diarrhoea medications that contain sodium or sodium bicarbonate.
Early pregnancy diarrhoea: Though diarrhoea isn’t very common in this stage of pregnancy, it happens sometimes. If you have it at this time, you can experience severe cramping, which some women see as a sign of miscarriage. However, you will feel very weak and tired with diarrhoea. Fatigue is a proven sign of pregnancy, so if you go through diarrhoea along with it, you’re going through a terrible first trimester.
If, however, in the first trimester you have a mild episode of diarrhoea, don’t worry. It will soon go away without causing you any harm. However, it’s good to speak to your doctor about it. And you should speak to your doctor if your watery stools are severe and are accompanied by mucus or blood or comprises just liquid.
Late pregnancy diarrhoea: At this stage of your pregnancy, you may have a bout of diarrhoea just before you go into labour. This common occurrence indicates that delivery is right round the corner.
How to take care of yourself
- Add salt and sugar to all your drinks. Drink sports drinks, soups and juices. Now, check your urine colour. If it is clear or light yellow, you’re drinking enough water.
- Eat small and frequent meals comprising crackers, rice, noodles and bananas. Ensure your food is salty.
- Don’t take any medication before consulting your doctor. If you do experience diarrhoea, take any one of these: Imodium or Lomotil. You can also eat yogurt that can bring you relief from diarrhoea.
Personal habits to follow during diarrhoea
- Wash your hands after you cook, use the washroom, pet domestic pets, change diapers and throw out the trash.
- Stop eating unpasteurized foods
- Wash fruits and vegetables
- Set the temperature in the refrigerator to 40ºF and the freezer to 0ºF
- Don’t undercook meat and seafood
- Cook egg yolk until it sets
- If you cut or cook raw food, wash your knives, cutting boards and hands well
Home remedies for pregnancy-related diarrhoea
- Boil a piece of ginger in a mug of water and let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain it and let it cool before drinking.
- Mix three tablespoons of honey in a glass of water and drink this once a day.
- Blend 1/2 teaspoon each of lemon juice and ginger powder with 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper and consume it twice a day.
- Combine lemon juice, black pepper and ginger powder and drink twice a day.
- Drink half a cup of water and combine it with peppermint extract two or three times a day.
While it is true that every woman is unique in her own way, so also the symptoms of pregnancy vary from woman to woman. For all pregnant women that undergo diarrhoea, there are different schools of treatment with very effective cures. All it requires are faith and patience.