Do Pregnancy And Diarrhea Go Hand In Hand?
For many women, pregnancy and diarrhea appear to go hand-in-hand. That would tend to indicate that having bouts of diarrhea during pregnancy is a normal thing, and something to be expected. On the other hand, there are those who will tell you that diarrhea during pregnancy is not a normal condition, and that pregnancy and diarrhea really have nothing to do with one another, a statement that many women will find hard to believe.
Diarrhea And Travel
The answer is somewhere in between, which is to say that pregnancy itself is not a cause of diarrhea, but there is a lot happening during the course of a pregnancy that can bring about episodes of diarrhea. For example, if you were to visit a foreign country, and sampled some of the wonderful meals that are prepared in that country, and one of the dishes you ate, perhaps in combination with something you drank, might have given you a case of diarrhea. If you had not traveled to that country, you wouldn’t have had the problem, but you can’t really say that traveling to that country is what gave you diarrhea. The country really had nothing to do with it.
It’s the same with pregnancy and diarrhea. The condition of pregnancy itself is not the cause, and it’s quite possible to go through all three trimesters without once experiencing an episode of diarrhea. But there are plenty of things happening, which if they came together in a perfect storm, could send you running to the bathroom more often than expected. In that sense, experiencing diarrhea during pregnancy is perfectly normal.
Hormonal Changes Are Usually Not A Factor
One of the things that is happening in a woman’s body when she becomes pregnant, is that hormonal changes are taking place, which can often be rather upsetting to some of the body’s systems, including of course the digestive system. It’s commonly believed that these hormonal changes can be a direct cause of diarrhea. In truth, these changes are much more likely to cause constipation, as can physical changes in the body as the fetus grows larger. Constipation is in fact a much more common occurrence during pregnancy than is diarrhea. Diarrhea is almost always caused by something from the outside, meaning it is caused by something we eat or drink, and is much more likely to occur with dietary changes.
Good For The Baby – Not So Good For The Mother
There is a bit of irony here and that is, as far as food and drink is concerned, what is beneficial to the baby isn’t necessarily all that good for the mother. It’s not that a woman’s health is likely to suffer because she’s eating things that should lead to the birth of a very healthy baby, it’s that some of these foods will give her diarrhea, especially if her eating habits have undergone a sudden change. Taking supplements can do the same thing. Many women, on the advice of their doctors, will take vitamin supplements or other supplements during their pregnancy. These supplements are taken with the intent of benefiting both mother and child. Sometimes, while providing these benefits, the supplements can also be a cause of diarrhea.
Yet another cause can be lactose intolerance. It’s often suggested that a pregnant woman should drink more milk. Many can do this without any ill effects, but some cannot. A person can have a lactose intolerance that does not cause a problem if the consumption of milk or other dairy products is kept below a certain level. If that level is exceeded during pregnancy, symptoms of lactose intolerance, including diarrhea, can raise their ugly heads. Once again, an argument could be made that the diarrhea was caused by the pregnancy, but it could just as easily be argued that it was not.
It’s The Bugs That Are To Blame
Stomach bugs, both bacteria and viruses, are the actual causes, but since a woman is more susceptible to stomach viruses during pregnancy, these viruses have a greater chance of causing problems. In this case, saying that pregnancy increases the risk of diarrhea might be a valid statement, but increasing the risk, or making a person more susceptible to a condition is not the same as being a cause of the condition.
The real issue however isn’t whether experiencing diarrhea during pregnancy is normal or abnormal. The real issue is whether the condition is harmful or not. In most cases, diarrhea is seldom much more than somewhat of a nuisance, and can even lead to embarrassment at times, but it does not present a danger to the mother or the child. Recurring bouts of diarrhea, or a length series of episodes can be harmful however, as these episodes could lead to dehydration, a condition that is not good for either the mother or the unborn baby. It’s the possibility of dehydration that one really needs to be watching out for, and it’s very important to see a doctor as soon as possible in those cases where a possibility of dehydration might exist, or the condition already exists.