How do I Treat Diarrhea During Pregnancy?

A. Pasbjerg

One of the best ways to treat diarrhea during pregnancy is to drink plenty of fluids. Eating a bland diet can help the digestive system get back to normal. Also, avoiding fried or fatty foods can help ease the uneasy feeling in the stomach. Diarrhea can cause deyhdration, so if the condition lasts for more than a day or two or occurs multiple times a day, or if the stools contain blood or mucous, a woman should contact her doctor to ensure she is not becoming excessively dehydrated or has a serious condition.

Bananas can help bulk up stool in those with diarrhea.
Bananas can help bulk up stool in those with diarrhea.

The most important treatment for diarrhea during pregnancy is to consume plenty of fluids. Affected women should be on the lookout for symptoms of dehydration such as dry mouth, weakness, or infrequent urination. Loose, watery stools can easily lead to dehydration, so it is important to replace the fluids being lost. Water or sports drinks are both good choices to keep the body hydrated, while caffeinated or sugary beverages should be avoided.

Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.
Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.

Eating correctly is another good tactic for treating diarrhea during pregnancy. When the issue first arises, it can be useful to avoid eating anything for several hours to allow the digestive system to rest. Then it is important to eat easily digestible, bland foods that are easy on the stomach and help to bind the bowels. Following the BRAT diet of bananas, rice, applesauce and toast is typically a good start. Other foods that are also gentle on digestion include potatoes, crackers, and broth.

Applesauce is part of the BRAT diet, which is often recommended for people with diarrhea.
Applesauce is part of the BRAT diet, which is often recommended for people with diarrhea.

In addition to eating the right foods, avoiding the wrong ones is important to address diarrhea during pregnancy. Anything that the woman may be allergic to should be avoided; for example, women with lactose intolerance should stay away from dairy products. Foods that are difficult to digest or may be hard on the stomach, such as fatty, fried, or spicy dishes, should also be left out during this time.

Sports drinks may help restore fluids and electrolytes when diarrhea occurs.
Sports drinks may help restore fluids and electrolytes when diarrhea occurs.

Since diarrhea is not actually a disease but a symptom, it is also important to take general good care of oneself as with any other illness when it occurs. Getting plenty of rest will help allow the body recuperate from the underlying cause. One should also be aware of any other symptoms such as fever or vomiting which may warrant a call to the doctor.

Cooked rice is a good food to eat during bouts of diarrhea.
Cooked rice is a good food to eat during bouts of diarrhea.
Pregnant women who are experiencing diarrhea need to stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet.
Pregnant women who are experiencing diarrhea need to stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet.
It is important is drink water and stay hydrated during when combating diarrhea.
It is important is drink water and stay hydrated during when combating diarrhea.
Bland, easily digestible foods like toast are good to start with when experience diarrhea during pregnancy.
Bland, easily digestible foods like toast are good to start with when experience diarrhea during pregnancy.
Diarrhea typically resolves on its own within one to two days.
Diarrhea typically resolves on its own within one to two days.

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Discussion Comments

bluedolphin

@fify-- I agree. The doctor should be making the call about medications because they could harm the baby if they're not safe during pregnancy.

Sometimes, if the diarrhea is caused by an infection, the doctor will give antibiotics. But they know which antibiotics are safe during pregnancy and won't harm the baby.

Aside from that, it's important to drink lots of water, eat familiar foods that settle the stomach. Since many pregnant women also use multivitamins, it might be a good idea to find if those could be a cause of the diarrhea.

fify

@turquoise-- Diarrhea and constipation can both occur during pregnancy. You are right that it's often normal and not harmful. But if it's excessive or if it continues more than a day or two, then it's time to see the doctor about it.

The biggest risks with diarrhea are the risk of dehydration and if there is an infection, the risk that the infection may affect the baby. So unless it's a temporary condition caused by eating something different, it needs to be treated.

I had diarrhea that lasted two days when I was pregnant. I never did find out the cause but I went to the hospital where they gave me something to stop the diarrhea. I also received an IV to prevent dehydration. Pregnant women should not take any medications for diarrhea before checking with the doctor first. So it's a good idea to just see the doctor about it.

turquoise

Is it true that diarrhea during pregnancy is common because of the weight and pressure applied on the bowels from the uterine? If the diarrhea is not excessive, is there a reason to worry?

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