There are many intestinal problems that a woman gets to look forward to during pregnancy. Diarrhea
tends to be one of the least common of these. Diarrhea is defined as loose, watery, unformed stools occurring more than three times in one day. It is not the occasional loose stool or the frequent passing of formed stools.
There are a couple of reasons why diarrhea is not very common during pregnancy. The first is that prenatal vitamins
taken during pregnancy tend to constipate a woman. The second reason is that as pregnancy progresses, the intestines tend to slow down, which also results in constipation
Yet pregnant women are just as susceptible to becoming infected with many of the viruses and bacteria that can cause diarrhea as women who are not pregnant.
Causes of Pregnancy-Related Diarrhea
Just as with women who are not pregnant, there are many possible causes of diarrhea in pregnant women. Probably the most common cause is an infection with a virus that causes stomach flu
(see Types of Stomach Flu Viruses
). Technically, the term "stomach flu" is not correct. The so-called stomach flu is not caused by the influenza virus
, nor does it infect the stomach. Instead, stomach flu viruses infect the small intestine.
Many women also experience diarrhea at the onset of labor (see Signs of Labor