Pregnancy can be a time of excitement and anticipation. Many changes occur in your body during your first trimester, but diarrhea can cause a great deal of discomfort and frustration. According to Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel and Charles J. Lockwood, authors of "What to Expect When You're Expecting," diarrhea can be your body's reaction to an increase in hormones. If you are experiencing loose bowel movements, there are several things you can do at home to help ease your discomfort. Make sure to call your doctor immediately if you experience more than three episodes of diarrhea in one day or if it is bloody or mucusy.
Reduce High-Fiber Foods
Increasing your fiber intake during your first trimester can increase the movement of your intestines, causing diarrhea. While fiber is important during your pregnancy, reducing the amount of high-fiber foods you are eating can help your bowels adjust and will help your bout of diarrhea clear up. Replace high-fiber foods with bulkier foods. Try bananas instead of dried fruits or add rice to help your bowels return to normal. Add high-fiber foods back into your diet gradually to prevent diarrhea from returning.
While exercise is certainly essential during your pregnancy, it can cause diarrhea, particularly if you began a new exercise program after finding out you were pregnant. If you are experiencing a bothersome case of diarrhea, try reducing how much you work out or try spreading your workouts out more. Exercise promotes a more efficient digestive system which, combined with your changing hormones, can lead to looser stools. Take a few days off to allow your body to adjust, and then gradually add exercise back in as your diarrhea clears up.
Increase Fluid Intake
Drinking plenty of fluids can help your body fight off an infection that could be causing your diarrhea, report Joel M. Evans and Robin Aronson, authors of "The Whole Pregnancy Handbook." Drink as much water as you can to help you replace the electrolytes you lose when you have loose, watery bowel movements. Sports drinks can also help, but drink them in moderation because they also contain added sugar. Lots of liquids will help your body flush out the diarrhea so you can return to normal more quickly.
Rest more when you are experiencing a bout of diarrhea. Take an extra nap during the day. Getting plenty of rest will help your body fight off any potential infections and will also help your body recover from the discomfort of having diarrhea.
- "What to Expect When You're Expecting"; Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel and Charles J. Lockwood; 2008
- "The Whole Pregnancy Handbook"; Joel M. Evans and Robin Aronson; 2005