Diarrhea is an uncomfortable condition that is quite common in the first and last trimester of pregnancy. It is characterized by increased loose/watery stool and increased bowel movements, things that may upset a young mother.
Diarrhea may be caused because of the action of sexual hormones which are naturally secreted during pregnancy or by common causes such as viral and bacterial infections.
Among the many actions of pregnancy hormones are to increase motility and the peristalsis of the intestine, which in turn can cause diarrhea. However, many times, diarrhea is caused by certain foods, due to sensitivity.
The most common symptoms caused by diarrhea are:
• Loose and watery stools
• Abdominal cramps
• Colic – pain in the upper and lower abdomen
• Urgent need to defecate
If diarrhea is a result of infection by pathogenic organisms may coexist fever. However, since any contamination by pathogenic bacteria may affect the health of the fetus, you better advice your gynecologist.
The most significant effect of diarrhea is dehydration which can have serious consequences to the health of mother and fetus, too. Dehydration leads to electrolyte disturbances, which in turn can affect body function. Unfortunately, at the early stages, dehydration has no symptoms, thus requires attention.
Management and treatment
In order to treat properly diarrhea you have to know the cause of it, thus you always better ask your gynecologist, before act. Although, there are several tips that may help you in self-management of diarrhea.
• Several studies have revealed that supplementation with probiotics along with prebiotics can have a significant positive impact to the motility, health and function of the intestine. In specific that can help relieve diarrhea and its symptoms, promote balance of intestinal microflora while also strengthen immune system of mother.
• It is advisable to avoid foods that may cause or aggravate diarrhea. In acute phases avoid dairy products and products high in fat and sugar (ex. ready meals, juices, etc.)
• It is advisable to avoid consume insoluble fibers and to peel fruits.
• Water and liquid consumption is very important in order to restore electrolytes that are lost through diarrhea (potassium, chloride, sodium). Drink small sips of water every once in a while and prefer soups and liquid foods.
• If diarrhea lasts for several days, you may need to further support your body by providing dietary supplements with electrolytes along with glucose. In any case you should first consult your physician.