Diarrhoea during pregnancy: Here's what you need to know

Dealing with diarrhoea during pregnancy

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While many mums-to-be often suffer from constipation during pregnancy, what many don’t know is that the opposite to be fairly common too when it comes to bowel movements.

Diarrhea can occur during pregnancy and doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong, but there are some things to be aware of and look out for if you are experiencing it.

What is diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea is when bowel movements are loose, watery and more frequent than usual.

What causes diarrhoea during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, diarrhoea can be your body’s natural reaction to the change in hormones which cause your digestive system to speed up, or it could also be your body’s reaction to something such as the prenatal vitamins or an iron supplement you are taking or a sensitivity to a certain food or food group. 

Later in pregnancy in the third trimester, diarrhoea can sometimes be a sign of pre-labour or labour.

Just as when you’re not pregnant, it could also be a sign of stress, infection, food poisoning or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or something more serious. 

When should I see the doctor?

Keep an eye on how many loose movements it is a day and ensure you let your doctor know if its more than 3 – 4 and lasts for a few days, if it’s completely watery or it’s getting worse and you’re concerned or you’re feeling dehydrated, dizzy or nauseous. 

How can I treat diarrhoea during pregnancy?

The most important thing is that you don’t become dehydrated so making sure you are getting plenty of fluids to make up for this extra loss. 

Foods that are known to help with diarrhoea include bananas, rice, applesauce, toast (known as the BRAT diet) as well as other bland things including porridge, boiled potatoes, dry crackers, lean meats and clear broth soups. 

Also try to avoid eating greasy or spicy foods, dried fruits – especially prunes, dairy and caffeine.

Do not take anti-diarrhoea medications during pregnancy as these are unsafe, if you are struggling you should speak with your doctor.

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