Diarrhea, or loose and watery stool, is pretty common during pregnancy. It's defined as unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements, often more than 2-3 a day associated with abdominal pains. While many women are faced with this symptom closer to the end of the pregnancy, others suffer from it throughout the gestational period. Diarrhea, however, can be caused by serious problems and infections and requires to be checked, especially when it lasts more than 1-2 bowel movements and is associated with nausea.
Causes of diarrhea
Diarrhea during pregnancy is not necessarily normal and unlike constipation, it's usually not related to changes in pregnancy hormones. Typically, loose stools are associated with changes made when a woman finds out she is pregnant. Is she eating healthier foods and drinking more water? These can both be associated with loose stools.
Food poisoning can lead to gastroenteritis, when you have an inflammation of the stomach and/or intestines. This can be a major cause of diarrhea. Gastroenteritis typically results from infectious agents such as bacterial toxins or viral infection. Gastroenteritis can become a serious problem during pregnancy and needs to be checked and treated.
It is important to stay hydrated during pregnancy and diarrhea can quickly cause dehydration and an imbalance in electrolytes. When dehydration occurs, the body can kick into what feels like labor, which is why many hospital visits for labor symptoms early in the pregnancy are treated with IV fluids. If diarrhea seems out of control and mom is feeling a loss of energy and cramping, it is time to talk to a doctor.
Certain foods like prunes, dried fruits, high fiber grains and fried foods can all lead to diarrhea. Sticking with a modified BRAT diet is often a good choice. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, all foods that are easy on the digestive system. In order to consume all the vitamins and nutrients needed while pregnant, it is important to add starches like potatoes and carrots to the BRAT diet. Vegetable soups, lean meats, and yogurt are also good.