Diarrhea caused by the pregnancy itself is usually not very serious, it is mild and subsides spontaneously during the first weeks. It is advisable to take special care with the foods that we eat raw, which should be well washed or peeled.
What is diarrhea?
The definition of diarrhea according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is the presence of three or more liquid or pasty stools in 24 hours. It can manifest during pregnancy like any other medical pathology, but if we adopt a definition that is not so strict, we can say that it is quite frequent during the first trimester that pregnant women present softer stools than usual.
There are different factors that can influence this change:
- Anatomical changes , the growing uterus displaces and compresses the intestine, which can modify intestinal transit
- Hormonal changes that affect digestion and intestinal motility, including tolerance to certain foods
- Changes in the diet , on the one hand, modifying the frequency, since many times the woman feels the need to eat more often and less quantity, and on the other hand, she can consciously modify the food in an effort to make it healthier by introducing more fruit and vegetable
- Incorporation of vitamin complexes , which can occasionally have this effect.
What about diarrhea in pregnancy
If it is a diarrhea caused by the pregnancy itself, it is not usually more serious , it is mild and subsides spontaneously during the first weeks.
The pregnant woman’s digestive system is more sensitive, which is why she is especially vulnerable to conditions that favor diarrhea, viral gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and in these cases it is important to avoid dehydration. With different dietary measures we can treat diarrhea avoiding resorting to drugs, although in necessary cases they can be safely prescribed during pregnancy.
To avoid diarrheal episodes during pregnancy, it is advisable to take special care with the foods we eat raw , which should be well washed or peeled. Cooking food well, eating freshly made food or recently opened packaged products and avoiding leftovers are other measures that should be adopted. If, despite our precautions, a diarrheal episode occurs, the recommendations are as follows:
- Increase liquid intake to replace losses , with water, sparkling water, infusions or “sports” drinks rich in minerals. Avoid fruit juices, especially if they are acidic and in any case well strained.
- Restriction of foods rich in fiber, which are those that stimulate intestinal motility: most fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
- Encourage foods that otherwise slow down intestinal motility , such as toast, rice, cooked carrots or apples, quince…
- Prioritize the consumption of proteins and the simplest forms of cooking: iron, oven, steamed or boiled avoiding sauces.
- Avoid caffeine and theine , highly seasoned or spicy, fatty or acidic foods, sugar and dairy products, reserving only those with the lowest lactose content: yogurt and possibly fresh cheese or cottage cheese.
- Fractional meals of small quantity and greater frequency , avoiding extreme temperatures: better at room temperature or warm than hot or cold and better cooked than raw.
- Normally with these recommendations , the diarrhea subsides in a few days , but if it persists beyond five days, or is accompanied by fever or blood in the stools, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
What you should know…
- Anatomical changes, hormonal changes, changes in the diet or the incorporation of vitamin supplements may be behind an episode of diarrhea that occurs during pregnancy.
- If it is a diarrhea caused by the pregnancy itself, it is not usually more serious, it is mild and subsides spontaneously during the first weeks. To avoid diarrheal episodes during pregnancy, it is advisable to take special care with the food we eat raw, which should be well washed or peeled.