Pregnancy is the most delicate phase in a woman’s life. While there are many complaints to deal with it during this phase, diarrhea during pregnancy is a common phenomenon. It is important to understand about diarrhea during pregnancy in detail, its causes, treatment and home remedies to deal with diarrhea when pregnant.
Diarrhea During Pregnancy
The initial episodes of symptoms of diarrhea during pregnancy are usually prevalent during the first trimester of pregnancy. During this time, the consistency of the stool is typically looser than what it is usually. Although it is short lived, a proper treatment and diagnosis of the disease is imperative for the health of both the mother and child.
As pregnancy is a crucial and delicate phase with preference of avoiding medications, it is necessary to be aware of possible problems. Diarrhea during pregnancy is common due to milder causes, however, certain severe causes and infections may also be involved. Considering the risk to the pregnant lady and the growing fetus in the womb, such problems need to be dealt with very carefully. Hence, it is important to be aware of the causes of pregnancy and learn ways to deal with it.
Causes of Diarrhea During Pregnancy
Following are the various causes of diarrhea during pregnancy:-
Hormonal Changes – During pregnancy, there are several hormonal changes. Estrogen, progesterone and Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) affects the digestive system in several ways. This leads to symptoms like morning sickness, increased craving for food, nausea, vomiting and even diarrhea during pregnancy.
Side Effects of Medicines – Often, an expecting mother consumes vitamins and medicines during pregnancy, as advised. Although, it has been proved efficacious in a lot of cases, it is accompanied by side effects which can cause diarrhea. This is one of the commonest causes of diarrhea during pregnancy. Any such effects after consumption of vitamins or medicines must be immediately reported to the physician.
Diet – A woman experiences a lot of changes in the diet during the pregnancy window. This happens solely because the baby receives all the essential nutrients required for its proper development from the food that mother eats. As a result, the mother’s diet increases. In certain cases it has been noted that an increase in diet is accompanied by diarrhea as the body is sometimes not able to digest the food properly based on several factors. As pregnancy brings a lot of changes, certain foods may not be well tolerated and can be one of the causes of diarrhea in pregnancy.
Intolerance to Lactose – Lactose intolerant is yet another common cause of diarrhea during pregnancy. Pregnant women frequently suffer from diarrhea due to the sudden requirement for the milk during pregnancy to provide essential vitamins and minerals to the baby.
Pathogens Induced Diarrhea – The causes of diarrhea during pregnancy may sometimes also be related to infections. Pathogens like bacteria, virus and parasites in the abdomen region are the leading causes for diarrhea, across the world and can affect pregnant women too.
Treatment For Diarrhea During Pregnancy
The first step towards dealing with diarrhea during pregnancy is to find the cause of it and diagnose the condition. The occurrence of diarrhea during pregnancy may be accompanied by various prominent symptoms that can be easily identified. These include stomach pain, abdominal cramps, mucus in stool or blood in the excreta, excruciating headaches, cases of vomiting, nausea and increased heart beat levels. In certain cases decrease in the frequency of urination, occasional fever may also be present.
Investigations may be advised as appropriate, in case such symptoms are present. Treatment is based on the causes and symptom severity of diarrhea during pregnancy.
Some of the important treatment advice given to manage diarrhea during pregnancy include:
Dietary Changes to Deal with Diarrhea When Pregnant
Dietary changes help a lot to deal with diarrhea during pregnancy. The mother should in all cases, completely abstain from having any kind of spicy, oily, fried food with high levels of fat and fiber, dairy and milk products.
In addition to these, the mother should also refrain from having- caffeinated and carbonated drinks like soda, fried junk food with a lot of fat, dried fruits, spices, red meat, food containing lot of sugar like chocolates and sweet drinks. This could be in turn effectively be replaced with- vegetables like cooked carrots, food with a starch like unsweetened cereals, potatoes, meat, sufficient amounts of rice with noodles and vegetables, soup and yogurt.
The CRAM diet could be rigorously followed as well. CRAM stands for Cereals, Rice, Apple sauce and Milk.
Increased Fluid Consumption
Consumption of plenty of water helps in maintaining the body fluids which is absolutely imperative to deal with diarrhea during pregnancy.
Levels of sodium and potassium in the body could be effectively replenished by oral rehydration of drinks and electrolytes. Supplemental zinc added to the oral rehydration therapy (ORT) also makes up for the lost nutrients and helps in faster recovery from diarrhea when pregnant.
Medications like anti-diarrheal might prove out effective but it is best to consult your physician before taking the medication.
Home Remedies for Diarrhea When Pregnancy
Here are some effective home remedies to deal with diarrhea during pregnancy.
Water – Water is one of the best home remedies to deal with diarrhea when pregnant. It is important to have sufficient amount of water with unsweetened crackers, as intermediary and filling snacks.
Lemon Water – Lemon water with a pinch of salt is also very effective to deal with diarrhea when pregnant and also helps to relieve nausea.
Ginger – Lukewarm ginger tea has proved in most of the cases to be very effective in dealing with diarrhea during pregnancy. It is also an important supplement for improving the health and metabolism.
Macerations – Several home-made macerations have also proved effective. A lukewarm mixture of honey and water in the morning for instance or lemon juice with black pepper and ginger powder are some of the effective home remedies for diarrhea during pregnancy.
Peppermint Extract – Peppermint extract can also improve and help in easy recovery in case of diarrhea during pregnancy.
If symptoms of diarrhea during pregnancy are visible, steps should be taken to replenish the lost body fluid and nutrients, immediately. Drinking water and maintaining a low fat and low carbohydrate diet proves out to be effective in dealing with it. Although, it is easy to deal with diarrhea during pregnancy with home remedies, it is necessary to seek medical advice too. Considering the growth and development of the baby in the womb and the health of the mother, any medication must be taken only as advised by the physician.
- American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Diarrhea During Pregnancy: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention. https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/diarrhea-during-pregnancy/
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Diarrhea During Pregnancy: Causes, Treatment and Prevention. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/diarrhea-during-pregnancy/faq-20395262
- What to Expect. (2021). Diarrhea During Pregnancy. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/diarrhea-during-pregnancy/
- Healthline. (2020). Diarrhea During Pregnancy: Causes, Management, and More. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/diarrhea-during-pregnancy
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