How can I Deal with IBS During Pregnancy?

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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2019
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be defined as a medical condition which causes negative symptoms in the bowel such as diarrhea, cramping, and constipation. It can occur with varying intensity. Things such as your menstrual period, your stress levels, and the quality of your diet could make IBS during pregnancy worse. In addition, if you already have a problem such as irritable bowel syndrome before getting pregnant, the presence of IBS can significantly impact your pregnancy. Dealing with IBS during pregnancy means being careful with your diet, consuming enough water, doing exercise, and using safe medications and supplements.

For instance, consumption of high fiber foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole meal cereal could cause some women with IBS during pregnancy to have more frequent bowel movements. This could be problematic for some women and helpful for others. If you are experiencing IBS, discussion of diet with a doctor and nutritionist should occur to determine which foods are best to consume. Also, avoiding foods you know you are sensitive to can help.

Getting sufficient water consumption and exercise is very important for women with IBS during pregnancy. Maintaining good hydration will enable better bowel health and can prevent constipation that often occurs with IBS. Exercise helps improve your digestion and helps strengthen your body so it can better cope with IBS.


Pregnant women specifically can benefit from taking folic acid supplements and multivitamins. Medications such as Bentyl (dicyclomine) are considered to be safe for pregnant women to use. Metamucil as a stool softener is considered safe for use. Granted, medications such as Zelnorm or even something such as Immodium could be dangerous because the potential effects to the baby are not fully known. Some doctors might suggest Immodium if a pregnant woman is experiencing severe symptoms of diarrhea that could compromise the pregnancy.

If used appropriately and carefully, natural remedies are considered to be safe and useful in treating IBS during pregnancy. Try a small amount of peppermint to relax intestinal muscles or a small amount of ginger in a cup of hot water to address nausea. In some cases, hypnosis works, too. Even natural remedies, though, can sometimes cause side effects such as heartburn or cramping in the uterus if too much is used.

Keep in mind that you should not take medication or any supplements for IBS during pregnancy unless you discuss the matter with your doctor first to make sure it is safe. For example, fiber supplements are reportedly fine for pregnant women to take. You should nonetheless talk to your doctor and make sure fiber supplements would be wise for you to take during pregnancy.


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Considering that anywhere between 9-23% of the world's population deals with IBS, how does one distinguish between morning sickness during pregnancy and IBS during pregnancy? I imagine that sometimes you can't tell the difference and thus, can only guess at how to deal with it.

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