Stomach Bug While Pregnant? Symptoms and What To Do
Sick While Pregnant? Don't Panic!
Millions of pregnant women all over the world contract some form of illness during their pregnancy, and the majority of them turn out to be just fine along with their precious babies. So if you're feeling like you've got a stomach bug coming on strong, don't panic! A woman's body has many ways of protecting the baby inside of you, so even though you might be getting sick (or full-blown sick) that doesn't mean your baby will be sick.
I am able to write about this from a personal standpoint, as recently I've had the stomach bug while in my second trimester. And my baby and I have lived to tell the tale. So here are the symptoms to look out for, as well as what to do if you have a stomach bug while pregnant.
Symptoms of a Stomach Bug While Pregnant
Sometimes it's difficult for pregnant women to tell if they have a stomach bug or merely a nasty bout of morning sickness. This is usually when the stomach bug is just starting up. As it progresses, there will be no doubt. In the mean-time, here are the signs and symptoms that most stomach bugs will give a pregnant lady during it's reign of terror:
- stomach cramps - these will feel like you need to have a bowel movement really bad but will likely be very painful. You'll know they aren't contractions because you'll have these along with any number of the following symptoms.
- vomiting - not much to say about this one except usually it comes on suddenly and strongly. You will most likely vomit more than one time.
- diarrhea - often watery diarrhea will accompany vomiting with a stomach bug
- fever - some people will experience a fever with a stomach bug, while others will not. It's always a good thing to start monitoring your temperature as soon as the other signs are there.
- chills and/or hot flashes - one minute you're body's on fire, the next you're freezing your buns off. This symptom is common with a stomach bug and can be quite uncomfortable.
- body aches and/or headache - this is another symptom that can go along with a stomach bug while pregnant. No fun!
What To Do: #1 Hydration
You know you have a stomach bug, now what do you do? The very first thing you should be thinking about, and probably the hardest to stomach (literally) is hydration. What do I mean by this? The issue is that your body will be losing a lot of fluid as well as electrolytes and nutrients through your vomiting and diarrhea. Which means that your body and your baby are now at risk for dehydration, which if it is severe enough can put you and/or your baby's health in danger.
So, here's what to do to stay hydrated:
Drink Fluids Right Away: this may be hard for you to think of especially right after you've puked your brains out or had a bout of diarrhea on the toilet; however, it is SO important to staying healthy while pregnant and sick. The best things to drink are water and some sort of fluid with electrolytes (for me, gatorade seemed to keep me very hydrated). Rotate between water, ginger ale, and gatorade and this will be the perfect combination to keep you hydrated and maintain a balance of electrolytes in your body. You want to replenish the vitamins and nutrients that you have lost.
Even if this seems like the hardest thing in the world to force yourself to do, you must do it! Drink up, ladies! If you don't, this could lead to dehydration and an unwanted trip to the Emergency Room.
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#2: Isolation and Rest
Now you need to think of the next best things to do while you're sick and pregnant. You'll want to think not only of yourself but the rest of your family and/or the people around you by:
Isolating Yourself: If you're able to, keep yourself away from the rest of your family by going into your own bedroom and kicking your significant other out to the couch (not because you're mad at them but because you are protecting them from getting sick too!) Also, try to stay in that room as much as possible, and don't touch your other family members for at least a day or two after your sickness has subsided. This will keep your family healthy in the meantime. You don't need an entire family of sick people while you're sick, do you? You'll want to refrain from handling their food and anything else that might go into their mouths, as well.
Rest: The next best thing to hydration during a stomach bug is rest. Your body is working very hard to combat this illness, and if you are up and about trying to do things around the house you are spending the energy that your body needs in order to get well! So lay your butt down in that bed and plan on resting for at least 24 hours or more! More than likely you're not going to have the energy to want to even take a shower, so rest is inevitable.
#3: Try To Eat Something
After hydration, isolation, and rest, what else can you do while sick with a stomach bug and pregnant? This may be something you won't want to hear, but you have to hear it anyway.
Try To Eat Something: I know, I know. You're thinking I'm crazy right now, but trust me, your body needs more than just fluids at this point. After your stomach has stopped spasming, and perhaps you've had an hour or more between episodes of vomiting, try to start introducing food back into your system. The absolute best thing to try to eat is crackers. Saltines seem to do the trick for me every time. They are dry and bland but will also help to calm your stomach a bit, too. If you throw them back up, don't worry about it. In about an hour or so, repeat. I know it's hard but you have to do it. Make sure you're drinking fluids too! I can't stress that one enough.
#4: Notify Your Doctor
You've been drinking fluids, resting, keeping away from your family and also eating when you can, but what should you do if it's not getting any better?
Here are some things to watch out for while having the stomach bug while pregnant:
- a high fever: 101 degrees F or higher that persists
- dehydration: some signs of dehydration include peeing less than 4 times in a 24 hour period, dark yellow pee, dizziness upon standing, weakness and inability to walk without help, dry mouth/lips
- vomiting and diarrhea that doesn't slow: if it has been over 12 hours or more and you are still throwing up or having diarrhea on a regular basis
If any of these things is present, you'll want to notify your doctor or healthcare provider right away. He or she may recommend that you pay a visit to the Emergency Room, as you may need IV fluids and to be monitored while you're getting over this nasty stomach bug.
© 2015 Nicole Canfield