Is Diarrhea a Sign of Pregnancy? What You Need to Know

Experiencing looser stools and wondering if you are pregnant? Is diarrhea during pregnancy normal? Answers to these questions are more can be found below!

Is Diarrhea a Sign of Pregnancy

Diarrhea Early Pregnancy

Pregnancy can do a number on the digestive system.

It seems like you’re either experience nausea, acid reflux, constipation, or diarrhea at some point or another throughout those nine months!

And while it’s totally worth it all – it can be no fun!

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But chances are, if you are reading this post, it’s because you are wondering about diarrhea in early pregnancy.

Is it normal?

Why does it happen?

and most of all – is a diarrhea a symptom of pregnancy?

I’m here to tell you that yes – diarrhea in early pregnancy (and throughout pregnancy) can be very normal. And it can also be one of the earlier pregnancy symptoms.

Diarrhea During Pregnancy

So I’m sure you are wondering – what causes this “wonderful” thing to happen?

Well, there are a few different reasons:

  • Hormones – when in doubt, this can be blamed for most pregnancy symptoms. In early pregnancy, the sudden change in hormones can affect your digestive system and make your bowels a little bit more loose. Many mothers report that even though they didn’t experience diarrhea, they did go to the bathroom more frequently.
  • Change in diet – many mothers change their diet when they find out they are pregnant. It is not uncommon for a sudden change in diet to cause diarrhea or other gastric distress.
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, a sudden urge to go the bathroom etc. are very common right before you actually go into labor and even during labor. For me, this was definitely the case both times.
  • Some women who had constipation before pregnancy found their bowels to be more regular and soft during pregnancy (which can be a nice change from constipation!)
  • Food sensitivities – it’s not uncommon to have a sudden food sensitivity during pregnancy.
  • Viral or bacterial sickness – and yes, it could just be due to being sick, especially if it’s super watery and frequent.

From what I’ve experienced and seen other women talk about, the “diarrhea” that is experienced isn’t the traditional sense – watery, can’t stop it from coming, etc. But more that their bowels are softer, happen much more frequently, and can come out of nowhere.

Diarrhea in early pregnancy

Diarrhea in the early stages of pregnancy can be normal – though if you don’t have it, don’t worry and just be grateful.

This is caused because of some of the issues above – especially the sudden change in hormones that causes your digestive system to slow down.

I took a very unscientific survey in my breastfeeding support group – about 2/3 of the women stated that they did not experience diarrhea in the early stages of pregnancy. However, several commented that they did experience more loose/regular stools.

So if you are wondering if you are pregnant because you are experiencing looser stools/diarrhea….the verdict is out 🙂 It definitely could be a sign that you are pregnant, but I wouldn’t start planning the baby shower until you take an actual pregnancy test.

Complications of Diarrhea During Pregnancy

The main issue associated with diarrhea during pregnancy is that it puts you at a higher risk of dehydration – if you aren’t replacing the liquid you are replacing, you can easily become dehydrated. This is the case even if you aren’t pregnant, but it’s even more likely to happen when you are pregnant.

There is some risk of pre-term labor with diarrhea, though that’s typically when it’s the more violent, watery kind. However, if you are experiencing diarrhea later in pregnancy, and it seems to just suddenly be starting, definitely contact your doctor, as it can be a sign of labor (as I mentioned above).

Castor oil is something that some women use to put themselves into labor – basically, it stimulates the bowels, which is thought to stimulate the uterus (and castor oil is generally not recommended).

Many people see an improvement with this type of thing with an increase in fiber and drinking enough water.

What about constipation?

In the survey I did, if mothers didn’t experience diarrhea or loose stools – they experienced just the opposite….constipation. Which is also very common throughout pregnancy. Increasing your fiber content can be really helpful in alleviating this problem – as well as taking a magnesium supplement (though make sure you talk with your doctor about that first!)

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