While every female will suffer from bouts of diarrhea from time to time, it is not considered a normal part of pregnancy. Most pregnant females will suffer from constipation instead of diarrhea, which may be linked to the dramatic increase in progesterone (relaxes muscles found in the digestive tract) and the consumption of iron supplements.
Bacterium That Causes Diarrhea
The average bouts of diarrhea in adults is about 4 times a year, while young children 5 and under will exhibit diarrhea more often. There are many noninfectious factors that are linked to chronic diarrhea including stress, food allergies, and medications (especially antibiotics). Gastrointestinal disorders (Crohn’s, IBS) are also linked to chronic diarrhea.
Acute diarrhea is often linked to bacterial and viral infections. These bacterium are found in a variety of foods including eggs, shellfish, unpasteurized milk, and raw meats. Foods that are not thawed out or stored properly in refrigerators can also make an individual ill. Refrigerators should be set between 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers should be set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
- Escherichia Coli – a foodborne illness that can potentially cause hematochezia (red bloody stool), abdominal cramps, and fever.
- Salmonella – causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Usually required hospitalization and may last from 12-72 hours.
- Rotavirus – most often seen in small infants and children under the age of 5. Incubation period is 2 days and may last anywhere from 3-8 days.
- Giardia Lamblia – A waterborne illness that often affects infants that attend childcare centers. Hikers are also at risk, because they will often drink out of tainted ponds or streams. This parasite can also be found in public swimming pools, on children’s toys, and diaper pins.
- Cryptosporidium – A hard-shelled parasite that is found in contaminated public pools, streams, ponds, raw foods, children’s toys, and changing tables.
Symptoms of a stomach virus includes vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain/cramping.
Pregnancy Diarrhea Treatment
- Drink plenty of fluids
- BRAT diet – bananas, rice, apples, and toast (will solidify or bulk up stool)
- Cheese can also solidify stool
Prevention of Diarrhea
- Hand washing
- Cook meat and eggs thoroughly
- Wash utensils thoroughly
- See refrigerator and freezer settings above
- Never leave meats or dairy products in your vehicle for an extended period of time
Foodborne Illness Statistics
It has been reported and recorded that 48 million Americans suffer from some sort of foodborne illness, with 3,000 (all age groups) of them dying each year (CDC).
Itching When Pregnant
Many pregnant females will suffer from “Mother’s Itch”, which may be linked to the changes in progesterone and estrogen levels. The soles of the feet and palms of the hands are often the most itchy areas. This annoying symptom will last all the way up to post-delivery.
Dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema can also worsen during pregnancy, so it is important to utilize lotions to help eliminate these skin conditions. As your belly and breasts continue to grow to accommodate the growing fetus, you may also begin to exhibit an itchy sensation in these areas, as well.
- Avoid hot baths, harsh soaps and bubble bath, and scented oils
- Wear soft, organic cotton attire, if possible
- Oatmeal soaks also work very well
Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy
This condition normally manifests during the third trimester (begins at 28 weeks and last till birth). ICP is linked to the slowing flow of bile, which may be caused from a blockage of the small hepatic ducts. The accumulation of bile salts will build up in the skin and cause the palms and soles to itch endlessly.
Make sure that you follow up with your OB/GYN, if you begin to exhibit this symptom, because it may put the fetus at risk. A sonogram, along with frequent fetal heart monitoring may be required. There are also several serum test that can be completed to help further diagnose this condition.