Diarrhea before labor is a very common problem that pregnant women experience. Pregnancy is a wonderful time for every mother to cherish. A pregnant woman eagerly awaits the arrival of her child. She will be going through many different emotions like happiness and also the fear about childbirth pains, etc.
There are many signs that notify a pregnant woman that labor has begun. They are signs like bloody show, Braxton hicks contractions, lightening, etc. But, not all signs of labor are present in each woman.
The signs of labor are different for each woman. Even if you were pregnant before, the signs of labor might be different for you this time, in comparison to the last time you were pregnant. Diarrhea before labor is one such problem or symptom that occurs before labor.
Diarrhea before labor: Do you know why it occurs
You might be really fascinated to watch your baby arrive. You might want to know the signs of labor that tell us that your baby is going to arrive soon. Diarrhea before labor is also one of the signs of labor that you are going to experience.
The main reason why diarrhea occurs before labor is due to the hormones in the body of pregnant women called the prostaglandins. The body of a would-be mom needs to be fully prepared to facilitate the passage of the baby.
Before the labor starts, during the normal course of pregnancy, the uterus is relaxed, the cervix is closed and thick. Also, our hip bones and joints are also stiff. But, your baby won’t find it easy to pass through your birth canal in such a situation.
To make it easy for the baby to pass through your body, your body releases prostaglandins. These hormones augment the uterine contractions. They help the cervix to efface or thin out and then dilate.
Prostaglandins also relax the hip joints. All these changes help in easy passage of the baby through the birth canal. But, prostaglandins also have some additional effects. They also stimulate your intestines and rectum as well.
Due to this intestinal stimulation by the prostaglandins, there is the passage of loose watery stools or you experience diarrhea before labor. The occurrence of diarrhea before labor helps in clearing up your intestines, which prevents the passage of the stools while having your baby.
As you have strong uterine contractions during labor, you might also end up passing stools due to pressure on your intestines. Diarrhea before labor prevents this problem of passing stool while having labor. This prevents you from becoming embarrassed.
As by now you know that diarrhea before labor is completely normal, you need not be worried about it at all. All pregnant women face this problem. But, they know that these changes are necessary for the safe arrival of their child.
Signs of labor: All you need to know
We have discussed why diarrhea before labor occurs. But, you need to know all the other signs and symptoms of labor to be fully prepared to get to the hospital or to consult your Gynecologist.
Lightening is also called as the engagement of the fetal head. In this, the baby moves down into your pelvic cavity and the head of the baby lies at the pelvic brim. You will feel an increased pressure in your pelvis.
As the baby’s head puts pressure on your bladder, you might feel an urge to urinate more often. This lightening or engagement of fetal head can occur anywhere between few hours to few weeks before the onset of labor.
2. Bloody show:
In order to protect the baby in the uterus or to prevent an abortion, a pregnant woman’s cervix is sealed with a mucus plug. This mucus plug seals the cervix throughout the pregnancy.
When a woman approaches labor, the uterus starts contracting and the cervix starts dilating and thinning. This leads to the loss of mucus plug from the cervix. This is called show. Sometimes, it can be tinged with blood as well. So, it’s called bloody show.
3. The breaking of water:
This is also known as the rupture of the amniotic sac and membranes. Your baby lies in the amniotic sac which is filled with amniotic fluid. Just a few minutes or hours before the onset of labor, these membranes rupture and lead to loss of water or amniotic fluid from the vagina.
4. Consistent contractions:
A pregnant woman might experience contractions throughout the pregnancy. But, as the labor approaches the contractions become more frequent. The number of contractions that occur every minute also increases.
The strength or power with which the contractions of the uterus occur also increases with time. When the actual labor begins, there are about 3 to 5 contractions of uterus every minute.
5. Loss of weight:
Generally, about a week before the onset of labor, the fluids that are stored in various tissues of the pregnant woman’s body is lost. This leads to weight loss. Almost 3/4th of a kg of weight is lost.
6. Back pain:
Some women may also experience pain in the back or backache of very low intensity or a dull pain. This is relatively a less common sign of labor.
7. High energy levels:
Pregnant women experience an increased energy levels few days before their labor begins. They start preparing clothes, things, etc for the new baby.
Diarrhea before labor: Measures you can take
We have seen about all the causes of diarrhea before labor and also about the other signs and symptoms of labor. Now, let us discuss some steps that you can take to make diarrhea before labor less troublesome.
1. Stay hydrated:
You can lose a lot of water when having diarrhea before labor. If you become dehydrated it can adversely affect you and your baby. So, it’s absolutely essential for you to remain hydrated.
Drink lots of water throughout the day. If you don’t feel like drinking water, you can even drink some soups, buttermilk, fruit juices, etc.
2. Light meals:
When having diarrhea before labor, you need to avoid overeating and having heavy meals. You need to eat small and light meals that don’t put additional pressure on your digestive system.
You can try to eat various light meals like bread toast with or without jam, crackers, chicken broth, jello, etc.
If you become stressed, the problem of your diarrhea can get aggravated. So, just relax. Try to concentrate on your breathing, meditate or listen to some soothing music.
4. Don’t take medications:
Sometimes taking antidiarrheal medicines can aggravate your problem. So, never take any antidiarrheal drug without your gynecologist’s prescription.
5. Stay close to the bathroom:
When you are experiencing diarrhea before labor, you need to stay as close as possible to a bathroom. Otherwise, you might need to walk a lot to reach the bathroom. This might add to your already existing woes.
One final word. Diarrhea before labor is absolutely a normal phenomenon caused by your hormonal changes. So, don’t worry at all about it. Just try to follow the above advice. You will just be fine. But, due to any reason if you feel that you cannot handle your situation, consult a Gynecologist.