General Practice 2022

Diarrhea in pregnancy: é normal? (causes and what to do)

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Diarrhea in pregnancy: é normal? (causes and what to do)
Diarrhea in pregnancy: é normal? (causes and what to do)

Diarrhea in pregnancy is a relatively common problem, as are other intestinal disorders. Most of the time, these changes are related to changes in hormone levels, new food intolerances or excess stress and, therefore, are usually not a sign of something more serious.

However, if the pregnant woman has very frequent bouts of diarrhea or if they last for a long time, she can get dehydrated, which can bring complications for the baby's development and for the pregnant woman herself.

Ideally, diarrhea should always be treated as soon as it appears, with increased water intake and diet adaptation and, if possible, eliminating the cause.Even so, if the diarrhea does not improve in 3 days, it is very important to go to the hospital or consult the obstetrician.

Main causes of diarrhea in pregnancy

Diarrhea can have many causes, from food poisoning to intestinal worms. However, during pregnancy, it is more than common for diarrhea to occur due to simpler causes such as:

1. Hormonal changes

The natural hormonal changes of pregnancy can greatly alter the functioning of the pregnant woman's body, including her digestive system. So, depending on the stage of pregnancy, some women may experience constipation or diarrhea, depending on whether hormones are causing it to delay or speed up the digestive process.

2. New food intolerances

Among the various changes that a pregnant woman may experience during pregnancy, there may also be the appearance of new food intolerances, due to the increase in the sensitivity of the intestine to some foods.This means that foods that were previously well tolerated can start to cause gastrointestinal changes, such as increased gas or diarrhea.

3. Diet changes

Many women during pregnancy go through major changes in their diet, either because they want to have a he althier pregnancy or because they need to compensate for some nutritional deficiencies. These changes can also be one of the causes of diarrhea, especially during the first few days of the new diet.

4. Use of supplements

The use of food supplements during pregnancy is relatively common, as it can help the baby's development. Although these supplements are safe and recommended by obstetricians, they can often cause diarrhea or stomach sensitivity, especially in the first few days.

What to do to treat diarrhea

Most cases of diarrhea in pregnancy can be treated at home without the need for medication, through a light diet and increased fluid intake. Some important tips are:

  • Avoid eating fried foods, fatty foods and heavily spiced foods;
  • Give preference to cooked or grilled foods such as rice with carrots, chicken, pasta without sauce, rice flour porridge or toast without anything, for example;
  • Prefer to eat fruits that are cooked and peeled such as apples, pears or bananas;
  • Drinkingfiltered or boiled water, homemade whey, coconut water or fruit juice.

However, if the diarrhea does not improve after 3 days or if there are other symptoms such as intense vomiting and fever, which may indicate food poisoning, for example, it is very important to go to the hospital or consult the obstetrician, as it may it may be necessary to start a more adequate treatment with medication for diarrhea or even some type of antibiotic.

Watch the following video to know what you should and shouldn't eat:

Check out even more tips on what to eat for diarrhea.

Is it safe to take medication for diarrhea?

Medicines for diarrhea, such as Imosec, Diasec or Diarresec, for example, should only be used under medical advice, since, depending on the cause, this type of medication can worsen the situation.

Is diarrhea in pregnancy a sign of childbirth?

Diarrhea is more common in the last trimester of pregnancy, seeming to be related to the fear and anxiety that a woman may feel about the time of delivery. In addition, some women also report an increase in the frequency of diarrhea attacks a few days before delivery, which may be a result of brain stimulation for the body to prepare for this moment.

However, the classic signs of labor do not include diarrhea, with the rupture of the water bag and increased contractions being more common. Check out the signs of labor.

When to go to the doctor

The pregnant woman should go to the doctor when diarrhea takes more than 3 days to go away or when other symptoms appear such as:

  • Bloody stool;
  • Severe abdominal pain;
  • Frequent vomiting;
  • Fever above 38 ÂșC;
  • More than 3 liquid bowel movements in a day;
  • More than 2 liquid stools over several days.

In these cases it is important to go to the doctor to identify the cause of diarrhea and start the most appropriate treatment.

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