Diarrhea is a very uncomfortable problem. Some women may notice themselves experiencing it more often during pregnancy, and wonder whether or not this is normal. Does pregnancy cause diarrhea? Here’s what all women should know about the potential causes of diarrhea during pregnancy.
Does Pregnancy Cause Women to Experience Diarrhea?
Every woman’s body has a different reaction to the hormonal changes which occur during pregnancy. The hormone called progesterone, which increases at this time, actually slows down the digestive system and is more likely to cause constipation. According to BabyCenter.com, there are some women who do report experiencing diarrhea during pregnancy. The problem usually occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy and often tends to occur just prior to labor.
It is important to note that estrogen levels also increase when a woman is pregnant. If you have ever used a birth control pill which contains estrogen and experienced diarrhea as a side effect, there is a chance that your body may respond to pregnancy in a similar way.
What Else can Cause Diarrhea within Pregnant Women?
While pregnancy can lead to diarrhea, it is important to note that there are other potential causes which are unrelated to conceiving. Anyone may experience these causes of diarrhea, regardless of whether or not they have conceived. Food poisoning, food allergies, stomach viruses, and stomach conditions can all be possible causes of diarrhea for pregnant women, according to BabyCenter.com.
When Should You Worry About Diarrhea During Pregnancy?
Although diarrhea during pregnancy is often normal and nothing to be concerned about, there are certain instances in which you should worry. If diarrhea is severe or persists for more than 24 hours, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and call your doctor. Also be aware of the fact that diarrhea may prevent your body from being able to absorb prenatal vitamins.
Women who experience nausea, vomiting, bloating, and abdominal pain along with diarrhea during pregnancy should visit a doctor. These symptoms may indicate fetal impaction, according to BabyCenter.com.
It is also important to keep in mind that diarrhea can be one of the symptoms which may indicate preterm labor. According to the American Pregnancy Association, other signs of preterm labor include contractions, stomach cramping, lower back pain, pelvic pressure, abdominal pressure, and vaginal discharge which may be bloody, watery or contain mucus.
Although diarrhea during pregnancy is most often normal, it is important to call your doctor if the problem is severe or persistent. Anyone who experiences additional symptoms should seek emergency medical attention.
Disclosure: This article is intended for educational purposes only. It should not seek the diagnosis and treatment of a licensed medical professional.
American Pregnancy Association, “Bleeding During Pregnancy.”
BabyCenter.com, “Is it normal to have diarrhea in late pregnancy?”
iVillage.com, “Diarrhea in pregnancy: How normal is it?”