Diarrhea isn’t technically a pregnancy symptom. It’s more common for pregnant women to suffer from constipation when they’re expecting. However, some women do have mild diarrhea right before they go into labor.
Causes of Diarrhea in Pregnancy
In sharp contrast to constipation, which is a common pregnancy symptom caused by hormonal changes and physical changes in your body, diarrhea typically has a foreign cause.
In most cases, diarrhea in pregnancy is often attributed to causes unrelated to pregnancy itself – such as food poisoning (like salmonella or E. Coli contamination) and stomach viruses.
Sometimes, certain antacids or antibiotics can cause you to have diarrhea. Some foods can also lead to suffer from diarrhea. For example, if you are lactose intolerant, diary products can cause you to have diarrhea. Sugar-free candies are another diarrhea trigger.
Women who suffer from existing gastrointestinal discomforts, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease, can suffer from occasional (or chronic) bouts of diarrhea in pregnancy.
Diarrhea in Early Pregnancy
Some women do experience diarrhea in early pregnancy. Sometimes, you can feel cramps along with your diarrhea. You may accidentally mistake this as a sign of a miscarriage. Try not to worry – a mild bout of diarrhea in early pregnancy shouldn’t be scary. Diarrhea should last for a day at the most. Call your doctor if your diarrhea lasts longer.
When to Call the Doctor about Pregnancy Diarrhea
If your diarrhea in pregnancy is caused by a stomach virus or a mild bout of food poisoning, your symptoms should improve in a day or two. In the meanwhile, make sure that you drink plenty of water and keep well hydrated. Try to stick to easy to digest, bland type of foods – like bananas or toast. Avoid spicy or fattening foods that can trigger diarrhea or make it worse.
Call your doctor if your diarrhea doesn’t go away within a day. If diarrhea in pregnancy is accompanied with any flu-like symptoms (like a fever), abdominal pain, or if your diarrhea is tinged with blood or mucus, contact your healthcare provider.