Q: Hi Dr Ketch, please I am 4weeks pregnant. 2 days ago, I ate vegetable soup and it’s been making me purge seriously; and I also feel weak. Please what drug can you advise me to take that will stop the stooling?
A: Hi dear. Congratulations on your pregnancy. We share in your joy!
Pregnancy is a very interesting time. Your body produces pregnancy hormone that help to keep your pregnancy. However, they come with some baggage too 😀 These hormones cause constipation and they also cause diarrhea. And so, even for those that may not be able to point to specific foods they ate that could have triggered the episode may just have diarrhea due to the hormones of pregnancy J
Other causes of diarrhea especially in early pregnancy include:
Changes to diet: Most women change their diets after they get pregnant and start to eat healthier. This diet would include fruits and veggies which in turn cause diarrhea when the body is not used to this sort of diet 😀 This is, however, temporary and stops after a little while.
Some antenatal drugs: The iron in the antenatal (prenatal) vitamins can contribute to the constipation experienced in pregnancy but other pre-natal vitamins can cause diarrhea. If you suspect this, speak with your doctor or skip the medication for one or two days to see if you feel better. If this is confirmed, your doctor will prescribe an alternative.
Lactose intolerance can also lead to frequent, watery stools during pregnancy. If this is the case, then your doctor will advice you stay off milk but you have to find other calcium sources needed by your growing baby like sardines, soya beans, fortified cereals etc
Infections with viruses or bacteria can also cause bacteria. Bacterial infections will require treatment with antibiotics.
What is important during these episodes is to ensure that you are hydrated. Drink lots of water, soups and Oral Rehydrating Solutions (ORS), if you’ve got them. Please do not take our sugary soft drinks. I have heard people say that if you take one of the soft drinks (the one that comes in the green bottle and is colourless like water), it is equivalent to taking ORS. This is not true, at all. These soft drinks can worsen diarrhea by drawing fluid into the tummy and making the diarrhea last even longer.
The BRAT foods are thought to help. Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast (BRAT) are traditionally thought to be easy on the stomach especially during these incidents. However, addition of other foods rich in other minerals and vitamins like lean meats, yoghurts, starchy foods (like crackers, unsweetened cereals etc) helps.
Generally, mild diarrhea in pregnancy with less than 3 episodes of stools per day, would resolve on its own depending on the causes as noted above. However, if you have 3 or more episodes of stooling and can see mucous or blood in the stool or indeed, the stool is purely liquid, be sure to see your doctor immediately.
Have a great evening, y’all 😀