Green Stool During Pregnancy: Should I Be Worried?

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Celiac disease, crohn’s disease, pseudomembranous colitis, giardia, irritable bowel syndrome, salmonella food poisoning, ulcerative colitis, intestinal cancer, prenatal vitamins, changes in diet and decreased colon transit time are some of the causes of green stool during pregnancy.

The excitement and happiness of pregnancy makes every woman sensitive to any kind of changes in her body. Though many women are aware of the changes that take place during pregnancy, there still are many things unknown to them, which when arises, makes her go all crazy and worried. One such situation is the elimination of green stool during pregnancy, which brings in a lot of doubts in the going to be mom’s mind. So in this article we will be learning about why this condition occurs.

Is Green Stool in Pregnancy Normal?

green stool

What does a healthy pregnancy poop look like?

Since you’ve been eliminating green poop, it is obvious that you must have many doubts in your head, like “is this how pregnancy poop looks like?” Or “is green poop normal during pregnancy?”

Basically, the color of poop during pregnancy isn’t different from when you weren’t pregnant. A greenish-yellow digestive juice called bile which is produced by the liver is responsible for the color of the poop. As bile pigments travel through your gastrointestinal tract, they are chemically altered by enzymes, changing the pigments from green to brown. The color of normal poop can range from light yellow to dark brown or black. Dark green stool is also considered normal during pregnancy unless you notice other symptoms like abdominal pain, bad odor and blood in the stool.

Is it normal to have green stool during pregnancy?

Pregnancy hormones can affect the digestive system. It can alter the digestive process and change the color of your stool. Many pregnant women experience relatively the same condition but just at different time periods, depending on the diet and medication. Since it is a common condition in all pregnant women, it is completely normal to have green stool during pregnancy, unless you experience other symptoms.

The elimination of green stool during pregnancy can start at different stages to different women. It can cause during the 5th week for some and in the 24th week for some. But to majority of the women experience it during their 3rd trimester. Some women even consider green poop as an early sign of pregnancy due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.

Causes of green poop during pregnancy 

Celiac disease

If someone with celiac disease eats foods like barley, rye, and other grains, consisting gluten, then their body reacts to the protein damaging the villi (very small finger-like projections found along the wall of the small intestine). And when the villi are injured, the small intestine can’t properly absorb nutrients from food, eventually causing loss of bone density, miscarriages, infertility and other neurological diseases.

Crohn’s disease

This is an inflammatory bowel disease (ibd), which causes inflammation of your digestive tract leading to abdominal pain, blood in the stool, mouth sores, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. There’s no known cure of crohn’s disease but certain therapies are said to reduce its signs and bring about long-term remission.

Pseudomembranous colitis

Pseudomembranous colitis also called as c. Difficile colitis, is inflammation of the colon associated with an overgrowth of the bacterium clostridium difficile (c.difficile). This disease usually occurs due to the antibiotics and certain medicines which outgrow the good bacteria in the body, which result in watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, pus or mucus in your stool, dehydration, etc.

Giardia

Giardia is a viral intestinal infection caused due to a parasite that is scientifically known as giardia lamblia. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and vomiting. It occurs when contaminated food or water is ingested. There’s no effective treatment for it, so in addition to avoiding contaminated food and water, washing your hands frequently can be the best defense against this infection.

Irritable bowel syndrome

(ibs) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. It is a chronic condition which causes due to muscle contractions in the intestine, inflammation in the intestine, changes in the gut bacteria, and lasts for a longer time period. The symptoms and signs include, bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, mucus in stool, etc. Symptoms can be managed by maintaining diet, lifestyle and stress. More-severe symptoms can be treated with medication and counseling.

Salmonella food poisoning

Salmonella is an infection which occurs when you eat under-cooked chicken or meat. The infection is called salmonellosis, but people know it by the name salmonella which is the name of the bacteria. Symptoms include watery stool, stomach pain, cramping, cold and chills, headache, etc. It will cure by itself within 4-7 days if you take proper precautions, if not consult a physician.

Ulcerative colitis

It is a bowel disease which affects the innermost lining of colon and rectum causing inflammation in the digestive tract. People experience suffering from this may notice symptoms such as abdominal cramps, and digestive problems. If proper medication is not taken then the patients may develop high risk of colon cancer.

Intestinal cancer

Tumors in the intestines may block the flow of food and affect digestion. An obstruction in digestion may cause intense pain, nausea and vomiting and requires immediate surgery in severe cases.

Prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are suggested to pregnant patients to ensure that they get the essential amounts of vitamins and minerals necessary for the fetal growth. Prenatal vitamins are the supplements of iron and calcium taken to reach the intended level of vitamins and minerals required by the body. They mainly contain high amounts of iron which is the main reason why the color of the feces changes.

Changes in diet

Pregnancy demands the intake of more healthy food compared to the regular days. And when it comes to healthy food all we can picture in our minds are green leafy vegetables and fruits like spinach, kale, broccoli, beat greens, arugula, watercress, etc. The chlorophyll pigment present in these fruits and vegetables can get into your poop and cause it to turn green. Another reason being the fiber, fat content which does not get digested properly comes out unchanged through poop.

Decreased colon transit time

Most of the women experience loose green stool during the early stage of pregnancy, towards the end of pregnancy or when they experience stress or anxiety. This is due to the shorter transit time which is experienced during pregnancy. Bitter greenish-brown alkaline fluid called bile is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, aids digestion in the stomach. When the bile doesn’t get enough time to chemically react with the things in the intestine, it results in elimination of green stool.

Laxatives

Most women use laxatives during pregnancy to ease digestive problems. Though digestive problems can be an issue, using laxatives or other supplements regularly will decrease colon transit time which in turn causes green colored poop due to the decreased interaction between food and bacteria in the body. It is mostly suggested not to use any kind of laxatives unless you’ve approached a physician regarding this issue.

Medications

Pregnancy puts you on a regular medication till you give birth. And certain medicines that you take might be the reason for you eliminating green stool as a side effect. Especially taking antibiotics may result in such condition. Though it is not an issue to really be worried about, if you continue to poop green for more days, then it is better that you meet up your doctor as soon as possible.

How to deal with it?

As long as you are certain about your diet and medication, there is nothing to worry about green poop during pregnancy. But if it bothers you and you want to do something about it then it is better you change your diet and avoid eating foods containing green or purple dyes in them. Consult your physician and tell them to suggest prenatal pills which have less iron. Wash and cook all food thoroughly. Avoid undercooked meat which might lead to infections or other diseases. Wash your hands often and use generous amount of sanitizer. Maintain your eating time and eat balanced food. Make sure to consume food which provides you with all essential nutrients.

When to call a doctor?

Make a note of the number of days you poop green, and also the food you consumed and medicines you took during those days. If the days exceed more than 3-4 in a row, or more often without any changes in the diet, or if your experience other serious symptoms then you should consult a physician as soon as possible.

Some symptoms which need special attention are:

  • Blood or green mucus in stool
  • Diarrhea or watery stool lasting for few days
  • Cramps and abdominal pain
  • Fever and rectal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Intermittent bouts of constipation

If proper precautions and medications are taken then you can avoid the chances of getting any kind of infections or diseases because pregnancy is a stage where you need to be double sure about your health.

References

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/giardia-infection/basics/causes/con-20024686

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pseudomembranous-colitis/symptoms-causes/dxc-20169332

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!

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