Is It Safe To Use Anti-Diarrhea Drugs During Pregnancy?

Anti-diarrhea drugs during pregnancy

When you’re expecting, you may experience loose stools and want to take anti-diarrhea drugs – but is it your best option? While many of us will experience some sort of bowel discomfort while being pregnant, there may be a reason for your diarrhea. Sometimes it’s the body’s natural reaction to pregnancy (not kidding) and sometimes it may be a reaction to something we have ingested whether it’s food or medication. You may have been exposed to a virus or it may be a pre-existing condition such as Chrons Disease.

Can I take anti-diarrhea drugs when pregnant? Answer: Best To Avoid Them Unless Your Doctor Advises You Otherwise

If you can put up with loose, watery stools for a few days, it may be better to refrain from taking anti-diarrhea drugs. There are a few options available, but not all are suitable for pregnant women. If you have severe or persistent diarrhea you should seek advice from your doctor, but ultimately you know your body best and should do what’s right for you.

What Are The Anti-Diarrhea Drugs Available?

There are a number of anti-diarrhea drugs available, although there is debate (occasionally heated) as to whether they are appropriate to be used during pregnancy. I am going to list them, but do not give any medical advice. I am a Mom with a little one on the way, not a medical professional.

There are a few name brands you will most likely recognize, for example  Kaopectate , which contains kaolin and pectin or Imodium which contains loperamide. They are designed to stop diarrhea to help prevent you becoming seriously dehydrated.

It seems that  Kaopectate has been reformulated, and like Pepto-bismol it now also contains salicylates (like aspirin). It is not advised to ingest salicylates during pregnancy, as it can lead to anemia and other complications.

Imodium is another anti-diarrhea drug which is available and seems to be pregnancy friendly in that it doesn’t contain salicylates.

When and How To Take Anti-Diarrhea Drugs?

If you have severe diarrhea, or you are presenting a bloody stool this is not the time to take anti diarrhea drugs. Go straight to your doctor or seek professional medical advice, do not wait for an Imodium to start working.

If you have had a reaction to food, taking anti-diarrhea medication may not be the best idea as your body is trying to eliminate the bacteria which have upset your digestion. If you stop passing stools, you may wind up with a bacterial infection in your stomach – not pleasant. You don’t want whatever caused your diarrhea to be hanging around inside your stomach for longer than it needs to. Loose, watery stools is the way your body is getting rid of these toxins quickly.

Take care when you are self administering anti-diarrhea drugs, as you may quickly find that you are not moving your bowels to quickly but rather you now have the opposite effect of constipation. Most women will experience constipation during pregnancy, and taking medication which accidentally brings it on is not a good idea.

Imodium is reported to be safe during pregnancy, but again, do you really need to be taking anti-diarrhea drugs?

Unfortunately, some women get frequent, loose stools commonly known as diarrhea during pregnancy. It is the body’s natural reaction to pregnancy and as uncomfortable as it may be, it affects more women than you might think. During pregnancy most women will suffer.

Why Do We Get Diarrhea During Pregnancy?

discomfort with their bowel movements, be it constipation or diarrhea. However, there are times when frequent, loose bowel movements can indicate more than a normal response and you should seek medical advice before you become dehydrated.

What Could Be Causing My Diarrhea?

You could be suffering from the usual suspects – food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome, a virus or diverticulitis to name a few. There are also a few pregnancy related issues. It may be your body’s natural response to pregnancy or your pre-natal vitamin may be at fault. Your stomach lining may be reacting to the high iron content or simply disagree with your multivitamin. Generally a condition, for example diverticulitis is going to be pre-existing and you will have discussed it with your doctor, so diarrhea is not going to be a surprise during your pregnancy.

If you are suffering from loose, watery bowel movements note down the frequency and consistency. It will help your doctor determine what may be causing it if your diarrhea persists.

Diarrhea occurring later in your pregnancy can trigger labor or even pre-term labor. If you lose too much fluid you become dehydrated which in turn can stimulate the uterus causing it to contract and labor to begin.

Why Is Dehydration So Bad?

Your blood wont be able to circulate as well as it should and it wont move through your placenta and into your fetus effectively. This can be dangerous for your little one and so you may find your doctor wants you in hospital and receiving fluids intravenously.

Natural Ways to Stop Diarrhea

Try increasing your fiber intake – this will add bulk to your stools and hopefully ease your problem. Eating dry foods can do the same, dry toast or crackers and even rice will help.

Increase your water intake – being well hydrated can help flush out any toxins in your digestive tract which are causing your diarrhea

Stop drinking fruit juice, sugary drinks or milk as all of these can actually make diarrhea worse.

Avoid tea, coffee and caffeinated drinks as they can further dehydrate you.

Consider the BRAT diet – Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast. It’s bland and will help your digestive system recover from its bout of diarrhea.

Think about what you have been doing in the past few days – have you changed diet, medications, been exposed to illness or eaten something suspect? If you work backwards you may be able to determine what set off your diarrhea and then take action to avoid it happening again.