Find out when diarrhea is normal and when it's dangerous.

By Dr. Laura Riley

At some point in your pregnancy, you may have diarrhea. Generally, it is brought on by gastrointestinal bacteria that you either picked up from someone else or contracted by eating spoiled food. These cases rarely last more than 72 hours.

Although it's a lousy way to spend a Sunday, you're better off letting diarrhea run its course than trying to stop it. It may worry you if the food you eat passes right through your body. However, missing out on nutrition for a couple of days isn't going to hurt you or your baby. The most important thing is to keep replenishing your fluids with clear liquids such as water, chicken broth, or juices.

If you have a severe or prolonged case of diarrhea, diarrhea accompanied by a fever, or stools that look bloody or contain mucus, contact your health care provider. Your provider may check you for other infections and parasites, especially if you've been around people with other serious illnesses or if you've traveled someplace (such as a foreign country) where the water isn't considered potable. If you are very dehydrated, you may be treated with an IV, and your doctor may suggest an antidiarrheal medication.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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