Kitty is a registered nurse. She uses what she has learned on the job to inspire and encourage others to take control of their health.
Feeling Sick While Pregnant? Don't Panic!
Millions of pregnant women all over the world contract some form of illness during their pregnancy. Thankfully, the majority of them turn out to be just fine and go on to deliver healthy, 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, so even though you might be getting sick (or are already full-blown sick), that doesn't mean your baby will be sick.
I am able to write about this from a personal standpoint because I recently had a stomach bug during my second trimester. Fortunately, my baby and I lived to tell the tale. Here are the symptoms to look out for as well as what to do if you contract a stomach bug while pregnant.
Symptoms of the 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 the case when the stomach bug is just starting up.
As it progresses, there will be no doubt about what it is. In the meantime, here are the signs and symptoms of the stomach bug that most pregnant ladies will experience during its reign of terror:
- Stomach cramps: The cramps you'll experience will feel like you need to have a bowel movement really bad and will likely be very painful. You'll know they aren't contractions because you'll have them along with any number of other of the following symptoms.
- Vomiting: Not much to say about this one, except usually, the urge comes on suddenly and forcibly. You will most likely vomit on more than one occasion.
- Diarrhea: Watery diarrhea will accompany vomiting when you have a stomach bug.
- Fever: Some people will experience a fever while battling a stomach bug. It's always a good idea to start monitoring your temperature as soon as the other signs appear present.
- Chills and/or hot flashes: Chills and hot flashes are common symptoms of a stomach bug and can be quite uncomfortable. One minute you're body's on fire; the next, you're freezing your buns off.
- Body aches and/or headache: These are two more symptoms that can go along with a stomach bug while pregnant. Not fun!
What to Do: 1. Stay Hydrated
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 to get hydrated. 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 because of your vomiting and diarrhea. This means that your body and your baby are now at risk for dehydration, which can put you and/or your baby's health in danger if severe enough.
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.
2. Keep Yourself Isolated and Get 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.
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 want 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.
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 then 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! Rest is inevitable because you're more than likely not going to have the energy to want to even take a shower.
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 . . .
Attempt 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 help to calm your stomach a bit. If you throw them back up, don't worry about it. In about an hour or so, try again. I know it's hard, but you have to do it. Make sure you're drinking fluids too! I can't stress that enough.
4. Notify Your Doctor
What should you do if you have not been getting any better been after drinking fluids, resting, keeping away from your family, and eating when you can? Notify your doctor, that's what.
Here are some things to watch out for when fighting the stomach bug while pregnant that should receive immediate attention from your doctor:
- A high fever: 101 degrees F or higher that persists
- Dehydration: Some signs of dehydration include peeing less than four times in a 24 hour period, dark yellow pee, dizziness upon standing, weakness, inability to walk without help, and dry mouth.
- Vomiting and diarrhea that doesn't slow: Consult your doctor if it has been over 12 hours and you are still throwing up or having diarrhea on a regular basis.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, 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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2015 Kitty Fields
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on January 18, 2015:
Thanks DzyMsLizzy! I just recently suffered with this...it was awful! So I figured the best hubs are written from personal experience, anyway. Lime Kool-Aid sounds about right to me! :)
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on January 17, 2015:
Wow--I wish I'd read this back in 1970 when I was pregnant with my second child.
I got a nasty stomach flu at 4 months along, and I was "going from both ends" for two days...and I got so weak I literally had to crawl to the bathroom on my hands and knees!
It was awful. Sitting on the throne with a wastebasket in front of me...I have never been that sick before or since.
They didn't have gatorade back then. I drank water, ate saltines, and that was all I could do. Of course, at first, it all bounced right back. But my philosophy is, and always has been, it's better if there is at least SOMETHING there TO come up; nothing feels worse than the dry heaves!
Eventually, I felt I could progress to something else. And though everyone thought it was the wrong thing, the first thing I felt like having, and the first thing that stayed down, was Lime Kool-Aid!!
Voted up, interesting, and useful!