Diarrhea During Pregnancy: What to Drink for Relief

by Ella

Pregnancy is a time of significant physical changes, and these changes can affect various aspects of a woman’s health, including the digestive system. Diarrhea during pregnancy is not uncommon and can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal fluctuations, dietary changes, or infections. While it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider for persistent or severe diarrhea, there are specific guidelines for what to drink to alleviate symptoms safely during pregnancy. In this comprehensive article, we will explore the causes of diarrhea during pregnancy, the risks involved, and what to drink for relief while safeguarding both the mother and the developing baby.


Understanding Diarrhea During Pregnancy

Diarrhea is characterized by frequent loose or watery stools, and it can occur at any stage of pregnancy. Some common causes of diarrhea during pregnancy include:


Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly the rise in the hormone progesterone, can slow down the digestive process. This may result in diarrhea as food moves through the intestines more quickly.


Dietary Changes: Pregnant women may experience changes in dietary habits and food sensitivities, which can lead to digestive issues, including diarrhea.


Infections: Infections caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites can lead to diarrhea. These infections can be contracted through contaminated food, water, or contact with infected individuals.

Medications and Supplements: Some prenatal vitamins or iron supplements may cause gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, in some women.

Gastrointestinal Disorders: Pregnant women with pre-existing gastrointestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), may experience worsened symptoms during pregnancy.

Risks and Concerns

While occasional episodes of diarrhea are generally not a cause for concern during pregnancy, persistent or severe diarrhea can lead to complications such as dehydration and malnutrition. Dehydration can be particularly dangerous during pregnancy, as it may affect the health of both the mother and the developing baby. Signs of dehydration include:

Dark yellow urine or decreased urine output.

Dry mouth and extreme thirst.

Dizziness or lightheadedness.

Rapid heartbeat.


If you experience any of these symptoms or have concerns about your diarrhea, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly.

What to Drink for Relief

Proper hydration is essential during pregnancy, and it becomes even more critical when dealing with diarrhea. Staying hydrated can help prevent complications and alleviate some of the discomfort associated with diarrhea. Here are some guidelines on what to drink for relief:

Clear Liquids: Clear liquids are easy to digest and can help maintain hydration. These include water, clear broths, clear fruit juices (diluted with water), and herbal teas without caffeine.

Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS): ORS solutions like Pedialyte or Rehydralyte are specifically designed to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. They can be beneficial for managing diarrhea, especially if dehydration is a concern.

Coconut Water: Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes and can help replenish lost fluids and minerals. It is a hydrating option during pregnancy.

Ginger Tea: Ginger has been traditionally used to soothe upset stomachs. Ginger tea can provide relief from nausea and diarrhea. However, use it in moderation, as excessive ginger consumption is not recommended during pregnancy.

Banana and Rice Water: The water left behind after cooking rice or boiling a banana is rich in starch, which can help thicken stools and alleviate diarrhea. These fluids can provide relief without contributing to further dehydration.

Avoid Caffeinated and Sugary Beverages: Coffee, tea, and sugary drinks can exacerbate diarrhea and should be avoided or consumed in moderation.

Avoid Dairy: If your diarrhea is caused by lactose intolerance, it is advisable to avoid dairy products until your symptoms subside.

Avoid Carbonated Drinks: Carbonated beverages can contribute to gas and discomfort and may worsen diarrhea.

In addition to staying hydrated, it is essential to eat a balanced diet during pregnancy to ensure you and your baby receive adequate nutrition. Bland, easy-to-digest foods like rice, bananas, applesauce, and toast (the BRAT diet) can help reduce the severity of diarrhea and provide essential nutrients.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While most cases of diarrhea during pregnancy can be managed with hydration and dietary adjustments, some situations warrant immediate medical attention:

Persistent Diarrhea: If diarrhea persists for more than a couple of days, consult your healthcare provider.

Blood in Stools: The presence of blood in stools is a concerning symptom and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Signs of Dehydration: If you experience signs of dehydration, such as dark urine, dry mouth, or dizziness, seek medical attention promptly.

Fever: A fever accompanying diarrhea may indicate an infection that requires medical evaluation and treatment.

Severe Abdominal Pain: If you experience severe abdominal pain along with diarrhea, consult your healthcare provider.

Decreased Fetal Movement: If you notice a decrease in fetal movement while experiencing diarrhea, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Preventing Diarrhea During Pregnancy

Preventing diarrhea during pregnancy involves practicing good hygiene and making dietary choices that minimize the risk of infection and digestive upset:

Handwashing: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially before eating and after using the restroom. Hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of infections that can cause diarrhea.

Safe Food Handling: Ensure that foods are properly cooked, stored, and handled to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Hydration: Stay well-hydrated throughout your pregnancy to maintain good digestive health.

Balanced Diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid foods that are known to trigger digestive upset.

Limit Caffeine: Limit your intake of caffeine-containing beverages, as excessive caffeine can contribute to diarrhea.

Manage Stress: High stress levels can exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms. Practice stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.


Diarrhea during pregnancy is a common and usually benign occurrence. While it can be uncomfortable and concerning, proper hydration and dietary adjustments can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of complications like dehydration. However, persistent or severe diarrhea should not be ignored, as it can lead to health risks for both the mother and the developing baby. It is essential to seek medical attention if you experience worrisome symptoms or if you have concerns about your condition. By following these guidelines and maintaining good hygiene practices, you can manage diarrhea during pregnancy while prioritizing the health and well-being of both you and your baby.


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