Loose Motions During Pregnancy – Causes & Home Remedies

Loose Motions During Pregnancy – Causes & Home Remedies

11 Dec 2017 | 6 min Read


Author | 1375 Articles

While a lot of women complain about constipation during pregnancy, the opposite can happen too. You can probably blame it on hormonal changes, changes in diet, and added stress. Medically defined as loose (or watery) and unusually frequent bowel movements, loose motions during pregnancy is common.

Loose motion can also result from an infection or underlying bowel disorder. Loose motion in the 9th month of pregnancy might indicate that the body is getting ready for labour.

Here’s everything you need to know about loose motion or diarrhoea during pregnancy.

Is Diarrhoea During Pregnancy Normal?

Diarrhoea is a common condition that can affect anyone. During pregnancy, your body starts going through a lot of changes, and these can affect your bowel movements, leading to either hard or loose stools.

Changes in your diet and nutrition might result in changes in your bowels and can cause gas, cramping, even loose motion during early pregnancy.

Hormonal Changes during Pregnancy

Research has shown that hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause loose motion in the first trimester.

The rise in prostaglandin levels such as oxytocin, help stimulate contractions in the uterus but can also increase movement along the digestive tract. It can result in loose motion during pregnancy in the first trimester or in any of the trimesters if the stool passes too quickly through the bowels.

Synthetic prostaglandins, such as a medication called misoprostol (Cytotec), can cause loose motion as a side effect in any of the trimesters. This is so because misoprostol can cause stool to absorb more water and electrolytes from the stomach which can contribute to loose motion.

Infectious Diarrhoea

A common cause of diarrhoea are bowel infections. In addition to watery stools, people with infectious diarrhoea can also experience the following symptoms:

  • Stools with blood stains
  • Nausea, vomiting along with fever and chills
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

Research suggests that some organisms cause infectious diarrhoea and loose motion in the 9th month of pregnancy. Some of these are:

  • Bacteria like Escherichia coli or any in the Campylobacter, Salmonella, or Shigella genera
  • Viruses including norovirus and rotavirus
  • Parasites like Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium enteritis

You can become infected with these harmful organisms by consuming contaminated food or water.

Bowel Disorders 

Chronic diarrhoea can be a symptom of an underlying bowel disorder like:

  • Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease
  • Overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria

Some of the symptoms of these conditions that cause loose motion in the 8th month of pregnancy or in any of the trimesters are:

  • Cramping and abdominal pain
  • Gas and bloating along with fatigue
  • Weight loss, nausea and vomiting
  • Anaemia and joint and skin problems

Other Causes of Loose Motion In Pregnancy

Some other causes of loose motion in pregnancy are:

  • Allergies or food intolerances
  • Dietary changes, stress and anxiety
  • Consuming foods that contain sugar alcohol, such as sorbitol, xylitol, or mannitol
  • Foods that you tolerated well before your pregnancy might now cause gas, an upset stomach, and even loose motion.
It is advisable to consult a doctor if you are having diarrhoea along with nausea and vomiting. | Image Source: freepik

When to See A Doctor?

Loose motion can lead to severe dehydration and malnutrition which can be harmful to the expecting mum and the developing baby.

It is advisable to consult a doctor if you are experiencing the following symptoms along with loose motion during pregnancy:

  • Stools containing blood or pus
  • Loose motion lasting longer than 48 hours
  • Six or more loose stools in a day
  • A fever of 102°F (39°C) or higher and frequent vomiting
  • Intense pain in the rectum or abdomen
  • Symptoms of dehydration like dark urine, thirst, dry mouth, feeling lightheaded, or urinating less frequently
To prevent dehydration during loose motions, drink plenty of water. | Image Source: freepik

Home Treatments for Loose Motions during Pregnancy

There are home treatments for diarrhoea too. Expecting mums having diarrhoea should drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. It is also important to drink liquids containing electrolytes:

  • Clear soups
  • Sports drinks and fruit juices
  • Sodas devoid of caffeine

A doctor might suggest an oral rehydration solution for pregnant mums having loose motion.

Doctors also recommend a bland diet to help restore electrolytes lost from diarrhoea. Some of the examples of bland foods are:

  • Applesauce and bananas
  • Plain potatoes and rice
  • Toast and saltine crackers

Research suggests that adding probiotics to your diet can also help as these are caused by antibiotic medication.

Probiotics are tiny microorganisms and a type of good bacteria that work in your gastrointestinal tract and create a healthy gut environment.

It is also advisable to avoid dairy products and products that are high in fat or sugar, and drinks containing caffeine.

Medications for Loose Motions during Pregnancy

It is advisable to consult a doctor before taking any loose motion tablet in pregnancy.

Studies suggest that imodium is an effective OTC medication for treating short-term diarrhoea. 

Reports from American College of Gastroenterology highlights that the antidiarrheal medications diphenoxylate-atropine (Lomotil) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) during pregnancy is not recommended as lomotil can harm the foetus in the second and third trimesters. 

Pepto-Bismol might increase the risk of low birth weight, neonatal haemorrhage, and perinatal mortality.


Be it loose motion in early pregnancy or in your final trimester, most cases clear up without the need for treatment or medications. However, loose motion during pregnancy can also be a sign of something more serious, such as preterm labour. Hence, it is recommended to talk to your doctor right away.

Some women have deep food cravings during pregnancy and out of control, they tend to eat more than that’s required. This can also sometimes affect your bowel movements and can cause loose motion. But with the right steps, you’ll feel better soon.


Is it Ok to have loose motions during pregnancy?

Digestive difficulties like loose motions are common during pregnancy. It can be the result of fluctuating hormones, changes in diet, and added stress.

Can loose motions cause miscarriage?

Loose motions don’t cause miscarrigae. But, it can affect a pregnancy by adding on to some of its discomforts like stress, anxiety and morning sickness.

How many times loose motion is normal in pregnancy?

It is advisable to consult a doctor if the loose motion lasts longer than 48 hours in a pregnancy.

Is diarrhoea at 8 weeks pregnant normal?

Diarrhoea during pregnancy is normal because your body undergoes important hormonal shifts to accommodate the baby’s development. However, call your doctor immediately if you rush to the washroom more than six times a day.

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