Diarrhea is defined as having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements in a 24 hour period. It is one of the most unfortunate illnesses during pregnancy.
How diarrhea affects you and your child
You can lose a significant amount of fluids when experiencing diarrhea which is not good for you and your little one. Dehydration can be serious, even deadly; thus, you will need to make sure you are re-hydrating yourself.
Prolonged diarrhea during pregnancy can affect your child’s health to the point that the newborn will be smaller and weaker than usual.
Causes of diarrhea during pregnancy
There are a few associations between pregnancy and diarrhea. When you first find out you are pregnant, you may make sudden changes in your diet to make sure your baby is getting the nutrients they need; this can sometimes cause an upset stomach or diarrhea.
Another reason you may have diarrhea during pregnancy is that you may become sensitive to particular foods. These could be foods you have eaten often before, but eating them while pregnant can give you an upset stomach or diarrhea.
Another cause of diarrhea during pregnancy is hormonal changes or due to a bacterial or viral infection.
Most cases of diarrhea will clear up on its own within a couple of days. However, you should stay hydrated; make sure you drink plenty of water, juice, and broth to rehydrate yourself and replace the electrolytes your body has lost. The water will help replenish your lost fluids; the juice will help replenish your potassium levels and the broth will help replenish your sodium. The broth is known to help resolve diarrhea.
If your diarrhea doesn’t clear up on its own, you may need to consult your doctor. If diarrhea during your pregnancy is caused by bacteria or parasites, you may need antibiotics. If a virus is causing your diarrhea, antibiotics will not help.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat, MD. (30 June 2020)