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.
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.
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.
A common cause of diarrhoea are bowel infections. In addition to watery stools, people with infectious diarrhoea can also experience the following symptoms:
Research suggests that some organisms cause infectious diarrhoea and loose motion in the 9th month of pregnancy. Some of these are:
You can become infected with these harmful organisms by consuming contaminated food or water.
Chronic diarrhoea can be a symptom of an underlying bowel disorder like:
Some of the symptoms of these conditions that cause loose motion in the 8th month of pregnancy or in any of the trimesters are:
Some other causes of loose motion in pregnancy are:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
Digestive difficulties like loose motions are common during pregnancy. It can be the result of fluctuating hormones, changes in diet, and added stress.
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.
It is advisable to consult a doctor if the loose motion lasts longer than 48 hours in a pregnancy.
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.