Is diarrhea a symptom of pregnancy? A rumor spreading around the 'net has caused an influx of searches for this term. So if you are here reading this article, you likely have heard this at least once before. Many people eagerly anticipate finding out that they are with child and want to know if their symptoms indeed suggest this possibility.
Now it is time to learn the truth of the matter. Will you be a parent in the near future? We all know that pregnancy brings with it many symptoms, but whether or not diarrhea is one of them is the question we will evaluate here.
What is Diarrhea?
Most of us are quite familiar with diarrhea and what it actually is, but for the fortunate few without a clue, it is defined as loose, watery stools three or more times per day for two-three days. Some people experience diarrhea longer than two or three days. This is called chronic diarrhea and often indicates a more serious health problem that needs medical attention.
Diarrhea, in laymen's terms, is a violent explosion of poop! Sorry for being so direct about it, but in all fairness, you did ask! It is what it is and there's nothing pretty about diarrhea.
No matter which definition you prefer, diarrhea is pretty interesting, or at least learning why it happens and if it could mean that a baby is on the way. It is even more important to women that hope for the pregnancy news in their future.
Bouts of diarrhea occur when the digestive system does not remove enough water from the stool as it passes through the digestive tract. This occurs when the stool moves too quickly or when intestinal problems cause excess water secretion. This can happen with or without notice and can occur infrequently or very often. Each woman is unique and so is her body and her poop!
Hormones fluctuate during menstrual periods, causing unusual poop before, during, and after the monthly cycle. Progesterone is responsible for this change. The hormone also helps prepare a woman's body for pregnancy. A woman's progesterone levels increase after ovulation in case an egg is fertilized in the ovaries. The progesterone levels drop drastically if the egg does not become fertilized. If the egg becomes fertilized, the progesterone levels continue to rise. High progesterone levels slow down food passage through the digestive tract, which may cause constipation.
I Have Diarrhea. Is Diarrhea a Symptom of Pregnancy?
Maybe. Maybe not. Laws of nature suggest that women experience constipation, not diarrhea, during the early weeks of pregnancy. It is the exact opposite of what the internet may lead some people to believe about pregnancy and diarrhea. That is why getting your information from the most reliable sources is so important. This does not mean that a woman cannot experience diarrhea when she is pregnant. Diarrhea may occur after eating contaminated foods, from parasites, and certain medications, among dozens of other potential reasons. The cause of diarrhea may even remain a mystery, but it usually disappears quickly so it's really nothing of concern. A lot of pregnant women actually experience diarrhea but it usually occurs later on during the pregnancy.
Pregnant or not, you may experience diarrhea and there are tons of possible causes. When your GI tract functioning is affected, diarrhea can occur at any time. Diarrhea may occur during the early stages of pregnancy or any time during the 40-week pregnancy but is not by itself a sign or symptom of pregnancy because so many different things may cause this issue.
Most common signs that suggest pregnancy (according to medical experts and countless moms across the world) include:
- Fatigue: Fluctuating hormones during the early weeks of pregnancy make women feel very tired, even when they do minimal tasks during the day. If you suddenly want to sleep all the time and have other symptoms, it could be time to start thinking about names.
- Changes in Breasts: Swollen, tender, sore breasts often occur during the third or fourth week of pregnancy. Once the changing hormones adjust, these symptoms should subside. Near the third month or 11th week of pregnancy, breast changes may again occur, this time causing sore nipples and larger areolas.
- Morning Sickness: Do not allow the name to fool you: morning sickness can occur at any time of the day and when it does, the woman feels the effects. Morning sickness is a term for a mixture of nausea, vomiting, and quietness in the tummy. Saltine crackers, seltzer water, and lying flat on your back can ease morning sickness symptoms.
- Frequent Urination: Most women would like a (clean and sanitary) porta-potty with them at all times during the nine months of pregnancy. Many pregnant women state that they go to the bathroom every five minutes, especially early-on in the pregnancy. The added pressure on the bladder from the baby ups the number of trips to the bathroom a pregnant woman makes each day.
- Mood Swings: Estrogen and proestrogen changes during pregnancy cause mood swings which sometimes can be quite intense and emotional. Now when you watch a movie and see a dog walk in the rain you can expect the tears to flood.
- High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure during early pregnancy usually signals an underlying health problem. Your doctor will likely perform additional tests if you experience high blood pressure that does not subside within a few weeks. High blood pressure may suddenly dip, which can cause a variety of symptoms, including dizziness. Do not ignore this early pregnancy symptom and talk to your OB/GY immediately.
- Heartburn: Heartburn during pregnancy can become pretty intense, but over-the-counter and prescription treatments ease the symptoms for most women. Tons of home remedies for heartburn provide relief for pregnant women in a safer alternative to the medications sold over-the-counter or available from the doctor. Heartburn occurs when valves between the stomach and the esophagus relax too much, an issue that pregnant women experience.
- Missed Period: Around four weeks after conception, the menstrual cycle stops. The fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus, however, so some light spotting may occur after the four-week mark. Women who experience irregular periods may not realize they are pregnant simply because they miss a period. Generally speaking, a missed period is the first sign that a woman is with child and should schedule an appointment with their doctor.
Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in a woman's body. These changes occur throughout pregnancy but the most noticeable often occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. The early signs of pregnancy on the above list are among many that alert women to the possibility that a baby is on the way. However, there are tons more signs apart from what is listed here.
Every woman's body is unique and so are the changes that she experiences during pregnancy.
The best way to determine if you are pregnant is with a home pregnancy test. Purchase a test at any drugstore or online for $20 or less for most tests. Then, take the test home and pee on the stick! The type of pregnancy test you buy will determine how you are notified of the results, which take about 5-minutes. Some pregnancy tests show lines and others tell you pregnant or not pregnant. Most women buy a couple of tests before they're convinced they are pregnant. While false-positives can happen, it is unlikely since the tets pick up a special hormone called HGH that only pregnant women produce.
If the result reads positive, you likely have a bun in the oven, no stove necessary! At this point, things get serious. Book an appointment with your OB/GYN. Early prenatal care ensures a smooth pregnancy and an easier birth. Plus, knowing that your baby is growing healthy and strong gives moms-to-be peace of mind. Those sneak pictures of the baby in utero also make the prenatal visits a little more special.
If you do not already have an OB/GYN, ask all your girlfriends for a referral, call your insurance company, Google search local providers, and do whatever it takes to find a provider who makes you feel comfortable and at ease. This person will deliver your baby.
A missed period and a positive pregnancy test are two signs that should be taken seriously by any woman. They're usually the two earliest signs of pregnancy that she will notice.
So, it's all a rumor that diarrhea is a sign of pregnancy. Sorry to disappoint anyone with explosive poop who hoped it was their first sign. Practice makes perfect, as they say, so use this opportunity to keep on keepin' on if you are not pregnant right now.