If you’re not constipated during pregnancy, you might be afflicted with the opposite problem. Diarrhea during pregnancy is extremely common, and unlike constipation, it might not even be caused by the pregnancy itself. Instead, it might be caused by the changes you made to make your pregnancy a healthy one. Healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables might cause diarrhea especially if you didn’t eat many of them before you became pregnant. Your exercise could cause it, or the prenatal vitamins you’re taking might also be the culprit. Whatever the cause, it isn’t harmful to you or your baby and it usually only lasts a few days. Constipation on the other hand usually lasts for the entire duration of the pregnancy, since it’s caused by the hormonal changes.

While the diarrhea itself isn’t necessarily harmful, it’s important to stay even more hydrated if you notice that you’re having it. A lot of liquid comes out with diarrhea, so you’ll need to make up for the loss by drinking more than your usual 8-10 glasses per day. You should avoid dehydration at all costs, as it can cause serious birth defects. It could also cause preterm labor, which could stunt the development of your baby. If your diarrhea is persistent and you’re having trouble drinking enough to offset the dehydration, contact your doctor immediately. He or she might be able to prescribe medication to stop the diarrhea and will check to make sure you aren’t already dehydrated.

In addition to eliminating foods that seem to cause you diarrhea, there are a few foods you should consider adding to your diet or eating more of to end the symptoms. Starchy foods such as potatoes and crackers will make your stomach settle down. Yogurt is also an excellent food for ending diarrhea because it has active cultures of lactobacillus acidophilus. Eating yogurt is essentially the same as taking a probiotic, which is a good way to return your digestive system back to its normal balance.

If there are any unusual characteristics about your diarrhea, such as blood, mucus, or a high concentration of liquid, make sure you call your general practitioner immediately. These characteristics could be a sign of a much more serious problem or illness, so you should get checked out right away. Otherwise, diarrhea is just another one of those grossly unappealing side effects of an otherwise beautiful pregnancy.

Source: Juan C. Vasquez: Constipation, Hemorrhoids and Heartburn in Pregnancy. Clinical Evidence Volume 2010 August 2010

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