We often hear that a person spontaneously got into labor inconveniently as their water broke in the middle of nowhere or while they were not even aware that they were going into labor. But this is not how it always happens. Only 15% of people go into labor spontaneously when their water breaks. There is another such sign that shows that a pregnant woman is about to go into labor, and that is diarrhea.
But this is also not a very well-researched symptom of getting into labor. There are no exact statistics or numbers about how often this happens, but according to some experts, diarrhea is also an imminent sign of labor. According to OB-GYNs, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of labor. But how soon after loose bowels can you go into labor? We will discuss it further.
According to Dr. Vaibhavi Umesh, OB-GYN, and MD at Stony Brook Medicine in NYC, “Sometimes, people are nervous to talk about topics that are scary, especially with regards to diarrhea. It’s a very personal topic. For a lot of patients, the whole process of labor can be very frightening and scary.”
She further said, “Understanding signs of labor can help reduce anxiety because it gives you some more control. Information is empowering. For patients who are pre-term, understanding is more important because you know when to come in. It allows you and the baby to be evaluated, and it opens the potential window where we can intervene.”
How Soon After Loose Bowels Can You Go Into Labor?
Diarrhea, or loose stools, is basically a symptom of early labor. So, if so happens, and you find yourself running on and off to the washroom, this could mean that you are about to meet your baby in the coming 24 to 48 hours.
But do not rush just yet. Many women often experience pre-labor diarrhea, it is not always a sign that you are going into labor. You can also get diarrhea because of greasy food, hormonal changes in late pregnancy, or some kind of stomach bug. You could be weeks away from pregnancy and still get diarrhea.
Doctors generally recommend rushing to the hospital if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- If your water breaks.
- If you are experiencing regular contractions every 3 minutes.
- If you have lost the mucus plug.
What Are The Causes Of Diarrhea Before Labor?
There are many telltales about the fact loose bowels are your body’s way of telling you that you are getting into labor. But this could be a sign that you are going through a stomach problem and not going into labor.
Your troublesome bowels are mostly the side effect of the sudden increase of prostaglandins that your body releases for stimulating labor. These are hormones that the body produces inside the uterus to trigger contractions and soften the cervix. These can also stimulate contractions in the intestine, thus causing loose bowel.
Is It Common For Every Woman To Get Loose Stools Before Labor?
This is not a common pregnancy symptom and does not happen to everybody. For instance, there was a study that found only 4% of women get gastrointestinal symptoms before going into labor.
This happens mostly to those who get diarrhea during their menstruation. This happens because prostaglandins that the body releases before you get into labor are quite similar to those that cause period cramps.
What Can You Do If You Get Pre-Labor Diarrhea?
Getting stomach issues no matter when is not pleasant. There you can try a few things to make it easy for you.
Now that we have answered how soon after loose bowels did you go into labor, it is time to know what you can do to ease some discomfort. Staying hydrated is one of those. Diarrhea has a tendency to cause dehydration, which you have to avoid during pregnancy. If you know that your due date is near, this could make you ill during the delivery, and if you are not close to delivery, it might cause contractions and result in false labor.
Eat Often And In Little Quantity
It is best not to intake a lot of food at a time and avoid spicy-rich food during pregnancy. Toast, bananas, chicken broth, and crackers are some of the best options that would keep you energized and keep your stomach settled.
During pregnancy, food moves through the intestinal tract quicker than usual. Thus, it does not let you absorb much energy. This can make you lethargic and tired. The best thing to do is get a good amount of rest, take naps, and relax.
When Should You Go See A Doctor?
Mostly, if you get loose stools or diarrhea before your due date, it is not a cause for concern. However, it is important to consult a doctor if you notice the following symptoms:
- If you have diarrhea for more than a day or two.
- If you are also vomiting along with it and are also down with a fever.
- If you are feeling dehydrated.
- If you are urinating less than you usually do, and if the color of your urine is dark.
If you have diarrhea, this could be a sign of early labor, and if that is the cause, then you should it happen just as it is happening. Consult your healthcare provider if you are starting to get worried because they can provide you with the best possible advice.
According to Dr. Umesh, “Often, if you are in labor to the point you are having diarrhea, you’re likely at the hospital being evaluated or admitted. If you are admitted, healthcare professionals are monitoring you; you’re getting fluids, and we are making sure your vitals are OK. It can be uncomfortable, but there’s not much you can do.”
Getting loose bowel might not be an indicator of labor, but it is often difficult to differentiate, so again I would suggest you consult a doctor. But if you were thinking about how soon after loose bowels did you go into labor, then the answer is nearly about 24 to 48 hours.
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