Pregnancy and Diarrhea: Causes and Prevention

Many pregnant women suffer from diarrhea. However, with simple habits, you can reduce the likelihood that it will afflict you.
Pregnancy and Diarrhea: Causes and Prevention

Last update: 22 March, 2019

Pregnancy and diarrhea is a really uncomfortable combination for any mother-to-be. In addition, and unfortunately for many pregnant women, it’s very common during pregnancy.

Pregnant women may suffer from diarrhea throughout the entire gestation period, without this meaning that something serious is happening if the stools aren’t accompanied by blood, abdominal pain, nor fever.

This awkward situation is very common, so much so that it could be considered a regular pregnancy symptom. The need to go to the bathroom increases in future mothers, and their stools are more watery, especially in the first and third trimester.

It should be noted that, during pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes many changes. Therefore, these can also cause undesirable reactions.

In the first trimester, nausea and vomiting tend to manifest along with diarrhea. In addition, when the pregnant woman is close to her due date, diarrhea usually manifests due to the pressure of the baby on the mother’s stomach. This causes less efficient digestion.

What are the causes of diarrhea during pregnancy?

Pregnancy and Diarrhea: Causes and Prevention

While it may have different triggers, these are the most common causes of this condition:

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes play an important role in diarrhea during pregnancy. Hormones affect the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

Dietary modifications

Sometimes, pregnancy and diarrhea go hand in hand when the mother-to-be adopts healthier eating habits.

Pregnant women tend to consume more fruits and fibrous foods to prevent constipation, which can trigger diarrhea. Fortunately, if a pregnant woman’s diarrhea is only due to changes in her diet, she’ll only suffer from this discomfort for a few days.

Drugs or vitamin intake

Some multivitamins that are prescribed to pregnant women can cause diarrhea during pregnancy. This is the opposite of what happens with iron, which causes constipation.

Digestion problems

It’s very likely that, during pregnancy, digestion problems, heavy feeling, nausea, and vomiting manifest. Diarrhea often manifests due to poor digestion. 

“In the first trimester, nausea and vomiting tend to manifest along with diarrhea.”

Lactose intolerance

Many moms-to-be consume more milk during pregnancy. This sometimes leads to sudden lactose intolerance, commonly accompanied by diarrhea.

This cause can be ruled out easily by stopping the consumption of milk and consuming other calcium supplements. Luckily, after childbirth, you can probably continue to consume dairy products without any problem.

Immune system vulnerability

While a woman is pregnant, she’s the perfect target for contracting diseases and infections due to the vulnerability of her immune system.

In this sense, she’s an ideal candidate for bacteria, infections, and stomach viruses. This results in the undesirable combination of pregnancy and diarrhea.

Can I prevent diarrhea during pregnancy?

Fortunately, yes! You can avoid this terrible combination by following these simple tips:

  • Maintain a balanced diet.
  • Make sure to sanitize your vegetables and fruits before eating them.
  • Avoid eating too much in one meal; it’s preferable to make several small meals a day.
  • If you go out for a walk, consume only bottled water.
  • Avoid experimenting with dishes and condiments that you’re not familiar with.
  • Significantly reduce your consumption of drinks with processed sugar, such as sodas and energy drinks.
  • Monitor the drugs you take and their effects. If you identify one as the culprit of your diarrhea, ask your doctor to prescribe you another.
Pregnancy and Diarrhea: Causes and Prevention

Final suggestions for pregnancy and diarrhea

Don’t let this symptom scare you, as it’s perfectly normal during pregnancy. However, if you feel that it’s serious, visit your doctor to avoid complications.

Similarly, in case you have episodes of diarrhea, always have sports drinks that contain electrolytes on hand to reduce the risk of dehydration.

Finally, don’t let this symptom ruin your day. You’re surely strong enough to deal with it and more!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.