Diarrhea in Pregnant Women

Diarrhea during pregnancy must be very uncomfortable, especially if accompanied by complaints of nausea and vomiting. If not treated properly, this condition can lead to severe dehydration can dangerous for mother and fetus.

Pregnant women are said to have diarrhea if the texture of the stool during defecation becomes liquid with a frequency of more than three times a day. Diarrhea is a fairly common complaint during pregnancy. It is estimated that almost 34% of pregnant women have experienced diarrhea.

Causes of Diarrhea during Pregnancy

Diarrhea during pregnancy can be caused by various things, such as:

1. Hormonal changes

During pregnancy, of course, hormonal changes occur. Certain hormonal changes can affect the digestive process leading to indigestion, such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Certain hormones can also cause pregnant women to experience constipation (constipation).

 2. Infection

The most common microorganisms that cause diarrhea in pregnant women are viruses, bacteria (eg Salmonella, Shigella, E. Coli, or Campylobacter), and parasites (eg protozoa).

 3. Food intolerance

Pregnant women will usually change their diet and choose healthier foods to meet the nutritional needs of the fetus. There are some foods that may unwittingly trigger diarrhea. This condition is called a food intolerance. In addition, incompatibility with cow's milk (lactose intolerance) and its processed products, such as cheese or yogurt, is also a frequent cause of diarrhea in pregnant women.

 4. Drug side effects

Some types of drugs, such as antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and ulcer drugs containing magnesium hydroxide, can cause diarrhea in pregnant women. In addition to drugs, pregnancy supplements can also cause diarrhea during pregnancy.

 5. Certain diseases

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease are some of the medical conditions that can cause diarrhea in pregnant women.

6. Signs of labor

Sometimes diarrhea can be a sign that labor is imminent, especially if it occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy or a few weeks before your due date. Diarrhea signaling labor is usually accompanied by uterine contractions.

Because it can be caused by many things, diarrhea in pregnant women needs to get checked by a doctor, especially if diarrhea lasts more than 2 weeks or is accompanied by other complaints, such as weight loss, fever, and dehydration.

To determine the cause, the doctor will perform a physical examination along with additional tests if needed, such as blood tests, stool analysis, and endoscopy.

Handling Diarrhea in Pregnant Women

Most diarrhea in pregnant women will resolve on its own within a few days, especially diarrhea caused by viral infections or food intolerances. What you need to do is drink enough water or rehydration drinks to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.

Drink a glass of water or a rehydration drink every time you have a bowel movement or vomit. During diarrhea, avoid foods that are high in fiber, high in fat, or spicy, and avoid dairy and dairy products.

If the diarrhea does not go away or it gets worse, immediately consult a doctor for further examination and treatment. Do not carelessly take antidiarrheal drugs, because not all drugs are safe for pregnant women.

Written by:

dr. Dina Kusumawardhani