Diarrhoea in pregnancy

Our feces have an aqueous content that is around 100 ml. When it is higher than 200 ml there are discharges of diarrhea.

During pregnancy, many women complain of constipation (constipation), but some may also have episodes of diarrhea, although not so often and not for so long.
Let’s see what you need to know about diarrhea in pregnancy, and the best ways to treat it safely.

Diarrhoea in pregnancy

Unlike constipation that can be caused by hormonal changes typical of pregnancy, diarrhea tends to be a reaction (not necessarily harmful) to something that originates outside the woman’s body.

Causes directly or indirectly related to pregnancy

  • A diarrhea can depend on a change in diet, the greater amount of water you are drinking, the physical exercises you do during gestation.
    -It can also occur shortly before labour due to muscle relaxation in preparation for delivery.
  • In some cases, it is the prenatal vitamins that cause loose stools: so it may be useful to read the leaflets and possibly talk to your doctor about changing the treatment.

Even during pregnancy, there may be causes that have nothing to do with hormones or lifestyle changes, such as:

  • food poisoning,
  • intestinal parasites,
  • a simple intestinal flu (viral gastroenteritis).

If you suspect it may be your case, call your doctor as soon as possible so that he can examine you and (if necessary) treat you.

Treating diarrhea in pregnancy

Most cases of diarrhea resolve on their own in a couple of days, so your main concern as a woman must be to stay well hydrated.
To hydrate yourself and replenish the electrolytes lost by your body drink plenty of water, juices and broths: water will help you replenish liquids, juices to replenish potassium levels, broths to replenish sodium.

Keep away from those foods that could aggravate your eventual problem.
So no to dried fruit, fatty or spicy foods, milk especially if you are lactose intolerant.

In these cases, the so-called BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) is usually recommended: it is gentle on the digestive system and can help make the stool firmer and firmer.
To these foods just described, you could also add:

  • starchy foods such as potatoes, unsweetened cereals and crackers;
  • cooked vegetables, including carrots, peeled zucchini, green beans, beets and acorn pumpkin;
  • soups and soups (without milk);
  • lean meats;
  • cooked eggs;
  • yoghurt, in particular that with live and active cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus

With these foods you will maintain a varied, balanced diet, rich in salts and vitamins, and you will avoid further episodes of diarrhea.

If the diarrhea does not go away on its own, you should consult your doctor, also because you may need antibiotics if the problem is caused by bacteria or parasites.

Traveler’s diarrhea and pregnancy

Traveler’s diarrhea is a common disease that affects travelers. The onset of this diarrhea usually occurs within a week of travel, but it could start at any time even during the trip itself. The main cause of traveler’s diarrhea is food or water contaminated with fecal material.
The countries most at risk are developing countries in South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Here are some ways to avoid diarrhea in pregnancy while traveling:

  • Avoid drinking tap water in high-risk areas: do not drink it, do not brush your teeth with this water, do not use ice cubes made with these waters;
  • stay away from street vendors;
  • avoid those fruits that can not be peeled or that you have not peeled yourself;
  • Avoid areas with inadequate sanitation.

Antidiarrheal drugs

Always consult with your doctor before taking any medication against diarrhea.

When to worry

Although, as mentioned, a mild case of diarrhea in pregnancy should not worry, you should immediately contact your doctor:

  • when you go to body more than three times a day;
  • when, despite changes in your diet, diarrhea lasts more than 48 hours,
  • when your stool is bloody, containing mucus, or is purely liquid,
  • when you know you’ve been in contact with someone with intestinal parasites or intestinal flu,
  • At the end of the third trimester of pregnancy, if you suspect that your diarrhea is a sign of labor.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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