Gastroenteritis During Pregnancy: Causes & Treatment

4 min read

The immune system of a woman gets weakened during pregnancy. Therefore, the chances of getting infected by some of the easily transmissible or contagious infections become high. And it is during this period that some women get infected by the short-term disease termed as stomach flu or gastroenteritis. Although the impact of gastroenteritis during pregnancy is of low level, exceptional complications may still occur. So here is all you need to know to manage the case of gastroenteritis in pregnancy.

gastroenteritis in pregnancy

Should Pregnant Women be Concerned About Gastroenteritis During Pregnancy?

Gastroenteritis is a very common problem amongst pregnant women worldwide. When a woman gets pregnant with stomach flu, one should not panic, because it is, in general, a short-term health concern, which can easily be managed. Mothers who are already having school-going kids are more likely to get infected with a stomach virus during pregnancy because their children are more exposed to contamination by germs at school.

What are the Symptoms of a Stomach Virus during Pregnancy?

Often the symptoms of getting infected by a stomach virus/gastroenteritis during pregnancy can be the same as signs of early labor. So it becomes very essential to comprehend the given symptoms of gastritis in a better way:

  • Diarrhea (without blood) or repeated bouts for more than 3 times a day
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Mild fever
  • Headache
  • Cramps in the stomach or aching muscles

What are the Causes of Gastroenteritis During Pregnancy?

Let’s learn about stomach virus and pregnancy or the causes which make a pregnant woman more vulnerable to gastroenteritis while pregnant. Gastroenteritis in pregnancy results because of the role played by bacterial or viral infections like norovirus, rotavirus, E. coli, and salmonella. So here is the list of reasons which give an entry of these viruses and bacterias in the body of pregnant women:

  • Being in close contact with someone already infected
  • Eating contaminated food
  • Eating raw or poorly cooked food
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Using the same bathroom with or changing the diaper of sick kids
  • Touching a contaminated surface or object
  • Not washing the hands properly

stomach virus and pregnancy

How to Treat Gastroenteritis During Pregnancy?

Here are some home remedies to lower and eventually diminish the impact of gastroenteritis during pregnancy:

  • Stay home. Take complete rest.
  • Drink fluids. Keep yourself hydrated.
  • If possible, try to indulge in carb-rich but bland foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice.
  • Once you are relieved from the clutches of gastroenteritis, stock up your gut bacteria with probiotic foods, like yogurt.
  • In case you feel the need for medicines, do consult your doctor. Avoid any self-prescribed over-the-counter drugs.

Are There any Side Effects of Gastroenteritis During Pregnancy?

Risks associated with gastroenteritis during pregnancy are:

  • In the First Trimester:

There is a risk of developing a neural tube problem if the woman gets gastritis during pregnancy.

  • In the Second Trimester:

In the second trimester, the stomach virus during pregnancy can lead to development problems in the baby. Also, excessive loss of water or dehydration because of stomach infection during the second trimester leads to the reduction in the level of amniotic fluid which is not healthy for fetal development.

  • In the Third Trimester:

If the woman gets infected with stomach flu in the 3rd trimester, it might lead to preterm labor or in rarest of the case, miscarriage.

What Precautions Should be Taken to Manage Gastroenteritis During Pregnancy?

The best way to prevent gastroenteritis in pregnancy is to learn the way it gets transmitted (as explained above). It is advisable to wash yours hands  regularly after touching any contaminated surface or after using the washroom or before eating and drinking. When a pregnant woman is outside in a public place, she should avoid rubbing her eyes or touching the mouth, because these are the two most common openings through which gastrointestinal virus enters the body.

gastroenteritis while pregnant

When Does it Become Mandatory to Visit the Doctor in Case of Gastroenteritis During Pregnancy?

If even after implementing home remedies, there is no sign of recovery and the following symptoms occur, then one should visit the doctor immediately.

  • Blood in vomiting
  • Blood in stool
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Severe pains
  • Choking
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing
  • Extreme fatigue

You are suggested to stay calm and hydrated with all the fluids which are permissible for your good health. Consult the doctor if the level of your discomfort goes beyond the limits of your patience. Stomach flu, otherwise, is a low-impact, short-lived stomach problem.

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