Loose Motion in Pregnancy

Loose motion is marked by unusually loose and frequent bowel movements. They may even appear watery and happen with cramps. Under normal circumstances, having loose bowels isn’t a problem, but loose motion during pregnancy can make you panic and uncomfortable. If you experience this three or more times in one day, your first concern is to stay hydrated. Though rarely a real danger, diarrhea shouldn’t be shrugged off when you are pregnant. The following will discuss some causes and treatments for loose motion during pregnancy.

Is Loose Motion in Pregnancy Harmful to the Baby?

Generally, you will see no harm to your baby from this problem. But it is important to understand that severe diarrhea can make you get terribly dehydrated and it can restrict the blood flow to your baby. When the loose motion is caused by pregnancy complications such as uterine or abdominal infections, particularly in the second or third trimester, it can be harmful to the baby.

When to See a Doctor

It is time for you to seek your doctor’s advice if:

  • You haven’t felt the baby move for some time.
  • You have bleeding or spotting.
  • You are having contractions.
  • You have nausea and vomit.
  • Your stool has mucous or blood in it.
  • You have a fever–it could be an infection.
  • You’ve had over three stools in a day, in particular watery ones.
  • Higher urine output and increased thirst could mean you’re dehydrated.
  • You’re dizzy or lightheaded. This can mean moderate to severe dehydration or a sign of bacterial infections.
  • You experience weight loss.
  • You have persistent wet stool after antibiotics.
  • You have persistent wet stool after travel.
  • If you have an illness, such as diabetes, you could be at a greater risk when you are sick.

The Causes of Loose Motion in Pregnancy

1.    Hormonal Changes

The hormonal surge in pregnancy can cause the digestion to slow down, which helps the fetus more readily absorb nutrients. But this can cause side effects, including diarrhea, gas pain, constipation, and cramps.

2.    Lactose Intolerance

There are some women who will become lactose intolerant while pregnant. In this case, she won’t be able to digest the sugars in dairy products, which can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps and gas.

3.    Diet Considerations

Many women start changing their diet to help their baby get the best nutrients. This means more foods rich in fiber like fruits and veggies, plus lots of water. This is a healthy way to treat constipation, but for women who aren’t suffering from this trouble, it can cause diarrhea.

4.    Stomach Viruses or Flu

The stomach flu or intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea when pregnant. Pregnant women are more susceptible to parasites and infections that hit the gastrointestinal tract and cause diarrhea.

5.    Prenatal Supplements

For other women, taking prenatal supplements can cause an upset. This is because they are allergic to the ingredients in supplements. One of the reactions is loose motion.

6.    Imminent Labor

If diarrhea happens at the later stage of pregnancy, it could be a sign that labor and delivery will follow soon. The body is preparing itself for the work ahead.

7.    Other Causes for Diarrhea During Pregnancy

Some other possible reasons include food poisoning, or certain antibiotics, antacids and medicines. Also, women who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or diverticulitis can have diarrhea during pregnancy.

Treatment of Loose Motion in Pregnancy

1.   Enjoy a BRAT Diet

To help firm up your stool, eat a bland diet of apple, rice, toast and banana. This diet combination can effectively treat diarrhea and make your stool hard. Make sure to use whole grain bread and brown rice. These fiber-rich foods will absorb water and bulk the stool up. Rice and bananas have a lot of fiber too. Apples have pectin that can add bulk to stool. Eating 4 to 6 servings a day are best.

2.   Enjoy Some Cheddar

Cheddar cheese has enzymes that help solidify your stool and regulate your digestion. Rennet is one of the enzymes you will get from cheese, but remember to avoid processed cheese. About a quarter serving per meal is enough. Don’t eat cheese if you’re suffering from lactose intolerance.

3.   Avoid Fat and Sugar

Fat and sugar can aggravate diarrhea. Sugar can irritate an inflamed intestinal lining by stimulating acids. High-fat foods aren’t easily digested because they don’t dissolve in water easily. Some foods to avoid are butter, dried fruits, candies, meat, soda, fruit juices, and processed foods.

4.   Keep Hydrated

Diarrhea burns through a lot of water. So make sure to replace it right away. You should increase by up to 1L an hour for one to two hours until symptoms reside. Dehydration prevention is a key in the treatment of loose motion in pregnancy.

5.   Have Saltine Crackers and Sports Drinks

Don’t forget you’ll need to replenish the electrolytes and sodium that you have lost from loose stool. Just several bites of crackers every 2-3 hours can help. It’s also good to enjoy a sports drink or other rehydrating treats.

6.   Check Your Medications

Some medicines can cause diarrhea, but with time your body can adjust. If the condition doesn't improve, be sure to check with your doctor and ask him/her to change the medications.

7.   Try Anti-Diarrheal Medicine

Seek your doctor's permission before taking any OTC medicines for your diarrhea. Use of anti-diarrheal medicines is still controversial. Loperamide is one that might be used safely during the first trimester. Medicines with sodium aren't recommended.

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