Diarrhea during Pregnancy

Although it is not often and it does not last very long, a lot of pregnant women are complaining about frequent restroom break because of diarrhea. Unfortunately, frequent loose stools or diarrhea can be one of the discomforts that you will experience during pregnancy.

Diarrhea is pretty normal but it can also be a sign of problem and it can make you dehydrated if not treated immediately.

Diarrhea means “flowing through” and it is defined as getting more than three liquid or loose bowel movements within the 24 hour period lasting more than one day or two. Once you experience this watery bowel movement make sure to count how many times it will occur within a day and make sure that you will stay hydrated.

Diarrhea is not a life risk condition, but should be taken seriously because it can be deadly if neglected, most specifically if you are pregnant and if it is accompanied with fever, vomiting, and if the stool has mucus or blood.


Unlike constipation, diarrhea during pregnancy is usually attributed to the positive changes that are happening inside your body. Because of the rapid hormonal changes during pregnancy, it is normal to experience diarrheal episodes during your first trimester. This article will help you prepare on how to handle this condition.

  • Diarrhea during early pregnancy. If you are having a diarrhea during the first few days of your pregnancy because of hormonal changes and sudden changes in your diet. These two changes can be a challenge to your body to adjust. In fact, during this period you can be extra vulnerable to acquiring viral infections which may increase the possibility of having irregularity in your vowel movement.
  • Diarrhea during late pregnancy. It is quite more common to have a diarrhea during this stage than the previous trimester. The most common reason is the undue amount of iron because of the dietary supplements being required to you. During pregnancy, women do not need to take iron supplement but sometimes the doctor would just want to make sure that you are getting enough, of course, it is better to have sufficient supply of iron than not. For the baby, it would be just fine to be a bit uncomfortable.

It can also be a signal that labor is at hand. It can occur a few hours prior to labor or a few weeks before your due date.

Pregnancy week by week

Do not panic, it just a how your body prepares for the upcoming birth giving event.

Here are some of the lists of things that triggers diarrhea, pregnant or not

  1. Change in dietary habits. The instant you discover that you are pregnant you began to think that you have to eat for two in order to give proper nourishment to your baby and you began to change your diet. You might suddenly increase your fruit intake and other fibrous foods like vegetables. Too much of fiber in your belly can cause diarrhea. Another thing is sudden increase in milk consumption, this increase the probability of experiencing lactose intolerance which may lead to diarrhea.
  2. If you are the kind of woman who doesn’t really exercise regularly and now forming a habit of exercising for pregnancy sake may induce diarrhea. Do not worry, instead ensure that you are hydrating yourself enough not to become dehydrated, it will usually go away right after your body gets accustomed with the pregnancy exercise pattern.
  3. Bacteria and viruses. Pregnant women are most susceptible with the attack of viruses and bacteria during the early period of their pregnancy. The most common viruses that may attack you are adenovirus, rotavirus, and norovirus. These types of viruses are usually harmless if treated right away.
  4. Pregnancy hormones. During the first trimester of pregnancy, your gastrointestinal tract functions less and it is more on a relaxed mode. In fact the pregnancy hormones may have a several effects on your gastrointestinal system. These includes: constipation or diarrhea, bloating, and a lazy digestive system. According to Utah Department of Health, these various pregnancy reactions of your body are in fact very beneficial for your little one it provides a way to help the baby inside absorb the necessary nutrients for development and for growth.
  5. If you are pregnant, make sure to avoid ingesting contaminated beverages and foods. This is the particular condition that you need to be very careful of what you eat and drink. The parasites like Giardia Lamblia, Entameba, Histolytica, and Cryptosporidium are the real criminals.
  6. Lactose intolerance. Because you typically increase your milk consumption when pregnant, you are likely to experience lactose intolerance and consequently lead to diarrhea. You can work on getting calcium to other sources like tofu, cheese, soy milk, and yoghurt.
  7. Prenatal vitamins. Iron supplements doesn’t always result in constipation, sometimes it can also cause diarrhea. If you have diarrhea, try to skip taking your iron supplement and see what will happen. At some instances, the brand of the supplement has a difference. Discuss it with your doctor and see if you will get well by changing the brand of your prenatal vitamins.
  8. It is a condition where the thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormone. It regulates the body temperature, brain, and heart rate. Hyperthyroidism is a type of autoimmune disease that affects to producing excess thyroid hormones. It can be because of medicines, high level of iodine and infections. Diarrhea is one of the main symptoms of this condition along with appetite loss, weight loss, heat intolerance, and painful lump in the area of the neck.

Thyroid storm can also happen during your pregnancy where the thyroid hormone in your blood suddenly shoots up.

Some of the symptoms of this condition are diarrhea, vomiting, and sweating. Make sure to contact your health care provider once you have the signals above because it can be a life threatening for you and for your baby. It can result a coma or seizure.

  1. Food allergies. The hormonal changes, food cravings and aversions can cause allergy in some foods.
  2. Laxative abuse. Laxative can really help in preventing or relieving constipation but all kinds of laxative are not meant for long term usage. If you overly use laxative it can result dependency and irregularity in bowel movement including diarrhea. If you are suffering from constipation, do not attempt to self-medicate yourself with laxative especially if you are pregnant. Make sure to ask for prescription from your health care provider to be sure and safe. Make sure that you know how long or how many you can use to avoid overuse of laxative.
  3. IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A gastrointestinal disorder is not a disease; it has a group of indications that happens together. It is also known as spastic bowel, spastic colon, colitis, and mucous colitis.
  4. There are some medications that can cause diarrhea like antacids, antibiotics, and some chemotherapy drugs.
  5. Other conditions that can cause diarrhea are the following:
    1. Stomach flu
    2. Diseases in the intestines like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
    3. Mal-absorption of nutrients
    4. Digestive tract surgery
    5. Competitive running
    6. Diabetes

How to prevent getting diarrhea during pregnancy

  • Avoid eating foods that are unpasteurized.
  • Cook seafood and meat very well.
  • Make sure to wash hands, cutting boards, and knives.
  • Make sure to wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, throwing out trash, and after cooking.
  • When you cook egg, make sure to cook the egg yolk very well.

Remedies and treatments for diarrhea during pregnancy

  1. Never do self-medications entirely during your pregnancy. You are not to take any medicine without prescription from your doctor.
  2. Diarrhea can be treated and should be treated with care but you do not have to be alarmed. It can be treated if you will report it to your doctor as early as possible.
  3. Ask for a prescription from you r doctor as early as possible to avoid other side effects.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Although most of diarrhea cases clear up within a day or two, your main business is to make sure that you are well hydrated. Make sure that you take enough water, juice, or broth to rehydrate your body and to restore the electrolytes which your body has disposed. The broth will aide in replenishing the sodium while the juice will help replace your potassium. So make sure to balance taking those three different types of liquids.
  5. Follow the BRAT diet consisting of banana, rice, apple, and toast.
  6. Try to avoid yoghurt and milk for the mean time while you are suffering from diarrhea.
  7. Avoid eating foods that are fatty and containing too much sugar.
  8. Say no to problematic foods like fried foods, dairy products, spicy foods, and foods that are high in fiber.
  9. You can also follow the CRAM diet which consists of cereal, rice, apple sauce, and milk. But if ever you are lactose intolerance you need to choose the kind of milk you drink. These foods are great source of protein which you might be losing a lot during diarrhea.
  10. ORT or Oral Rehydration Therapy, it is one of the most reliable way of controlling a diarrhea. This involves drinking water with an amount of sugar and salt.
  11. Avoid the following lists of foods:
    1. Red meat
    2. Sugary foods
    3. Dried fruits like prunes and apricot
    4. Carbonated and caffeinated products
  12. Do not overeat instead enjoy small amount of meals and eat frequently.
  13. Try these home natural remedies:
    1. Ginger tea. Boil some ginger, let it sit for about 10-20 minutes before straining and put it in a clean container or thermos to keep the heat.
    2. Drink a mixture of half cup of water and several amount of peppermint extract for about 2-3 times a day.
    3. Consume a mixture of a glass of water with four tablespoons of honey once each day.
    4. Drink a mixture of half a teaspoon of ginger powder, quarter teaspoon of crushed black pepper, and a lemon juice for about two times a day.

When is diarrhea a signal of emergency?

Although diarrhea is common during pregnancy, it can greatly affect you and your baby. Dehydration can cause a serious complication if not treated instantly. Severe dehydration can hamper the blood flow to the baby. It can also be a risk factor toward premature labor.

There is nothing wrong if you report your condition to your doctor as early as day one but if you think you know what you are doing it is okay not to but make sure that you are going to call your health care provider once things are not changing or improving on the second day.

Pregnant women need to be very careful in taking care of themselves. Keep in mind that whatever you eat, drink, and do will affect the baby inside your womb. Always resolve to natural remedies and avoid synthetic medicines as much as you could. May the force be with you pregnant ladies! Good luck and have a healthy baby!