Pregnancy comes with a lot of discomfort and physiological changes. Morning sickness is one of those discomforts that people face. And this does not just end here; you can even catch a stomach bug on top of that as if that was not enough. Not sure what “stomach bug while pregnant” is? The stomach bug is generally another term for stomach virus or gastroenteritis.

But the discomfort it causes stays up to you and doesn’t bother your baby in any harmful way. This won’t last for a long period as well. Here’s a comprehensive guide about getting stomach bugs during your pregnancy.

Symptoms That You Have A Stomach Bug  

Symptoms that you have a stomach bug

It is necessary to be aware of the symptoms that are caused during pregnancy, including the ones that are caused by stomach bugs or stomach viruses, as some of the symptoms are similar to going into labor.

If you have caught a stomach bug while pregnant, these are the symptoms that you can find.

  • Fever
  • Soreness or general pain
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the abdomen or stomach cramps
  • Weary bowel movements
  • Diarrhea

Types Of Stomach Bugs  

The most common types of viruses or bugs that you can get while pregnant are:

  • Rotavirus – This is the most common kind that attacks children and babies, but it is not unlikely for pregnant women to catch this particular type of stomach bug.
  • Norovirus – This bug is most common during the months of November to April.

Most of the bugs are contagious, but they also wear out easily. You can get the symptoms immediately, or in some cases, the symptoms show after 24 to 48 hours.

Causes Behind Getting A Stomach Bug  

  • Eating poorly cooked or raw food.
  • Being in close proximity with someone.
  • Using the same washroom or when you change the kid’s diaper when they are sick.
  • Eating contaminated food.
  • Touching an object which was previously contaminated or a surface.
  • Drinking contaminated water.
  • Not cleaning or washing your hands before touching your mouth and face with it.

Risks Of Stomach Bugs By Trimester  

Risks of stomach bugs by trimester

Your body’s immunity system is comparatively low during your pregnancy, but it still tries to safeguard you against these bugs. The bug might drain you out, but the immunity that your body has safeguards your little one against those bugs and other germs which gets inside your body.

A stomach bug while pregnant has the capability of leaving you dehydrated and has a high chance of wearing out your immune system. These are the side effects that cause complications during pregnancy and lead to some serious issues during childbirth. This mostly depends on which stage of pregnancy you are in. Let’s check the risks that come with each trimester.

Stomach Bug In The First Trimester  

In the first trimester, it takes a while to identify the fact that you are actually pregnant. But these twelve weeks are very crucial. This is the time when the baby develops the body parts, like their heart, brain, and other important organs, even though they are extremely small. Getting a stomach virus in this stage can bring problems to the spile, like the neural tube.

Stomach Bug In The Second Trimester  

Your baby grows rapidly and is still developing during the second trimester of your pregnancy. Getting a serious stomach bug can hamper their development at this stage. if the virus is causing problems which is not letting you each or drink enough, then it can slow down the growth of your baby temporarily.

If you are sick with the virus and losing a lot of fluid, then there is a possible chance that the swimming pool for the baby or the amniotic fluid, as we call it, would drain out slowly.

Stomach Bug In The Third Trimester  

A stomach bud or any kind of virus can cause preterm labor during the third trimester. By this, I am trying to mean that stomach cramps can eventually lead to contractions. This has a high chance of happening if you are dehydrated so much that your baby does not get enough water.

Dehydration also lowers the amniotic fluid level in this trimester. And if it gets too serious, it affects your ability to make enough milk for your baby right after their birth.

Treatments For Stomach Bug  

Treatments for stomach bug

Generally, stomach bugs while pregnant are not very serious, and they go away on their own. There are a few home remedies that you can try, but going to a doctor is always recommended.

  • Staying home is a basic that you have to practice to prevent from affecting anyone else.
  • Getting a lot of rest.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids to make up for the amount that you have lost.
  • If you have not lost your entire appetite, then try eating food with a lot of carbohydrates but bland (potatoes, bread, rice, pasta).
  • After you are free of your symptoms, recharge your body with probiotic-rich foods like yogurt.

Staying Hydrated Is Important

The most important fact about stomach viruses, whether you are not pregnant or pregnant, is that they cause water loss from both ends. It is important to get that water back to the body, or it might cause dehydration. 

A woman’s body requires water more than at any normal time when you are pregnant. You have to keep yourself, as well as the little one, hydrated while you recover from the stomach bug. You can fight the stomach bug by doing the following things:

  • Drink a lot of clear fluids like herbal tea, water, juice, and broth.
  • Drink fizzy drinks like ginger ale.
  • Drink a lot of sports drinks which have added minerals and vitamins. But keep a check on the sugar levels as well.
  • Suck on a few ice cubes and frozen juice bars.
  • Have a lot of juicy fruits like watermelon or oranges.
  • Add some oral rehydration salts to your drinks.
  • Avoiding the intake of caffeine and avoiding alcohol is a must during pregnancy.

Symptoms That You Are Dehydrated

  • Passing dark yellow urine
  • Getting confused easily
  • Not passing enough urine
  • Getting fizzy
  • Fainting
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Getting irritated easily
  • Increased heart rate
  • Getting tired and sleepy
  • Feeling thirsty

How Can You Avoid Getting Gastroenteritis?

Just like what we do with most viruses, the best possible way to avoid getting gastroenteritis is to have knowledge about how it gets transmitted. It is spread just like any other virus spreads.

  • Touching any contaminated surface, and then you touch your face or your mouth.
  • Eating something that has been contaminated by the virus.
  • If you share some utensils and cups with the person who has been affected.
  • Getting the virus from the air.

There have been instances where a pregnant woman gets in contact with gastroenteritis from their firstborns. Children have a habit of touching everything they see and picking up the virus, germs, and bacteria and then sharing it with the family as well. To reduce the risk, it is better to keep your hands clean and wash your kid’s hands at regular intervals. Also try to avoid touching your face when you are out.

When To See A Doctor?  

When to see a doctor

Generally, the stomach clears up within forty-eight hours, but if you find your symptoms staying longer than that, or if you are having difficulty keeping any of your food or water down, then you should visit a doctor and get yourself checked out.

But the first thing your doctor would do is check you for dehydration, as this can bring harm to your baby and yourself. After that, the tests will be run to rule out some causes like:

  • Food poisoning
  • Premature labor
  • Bacterial infection
  • Appendicitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

If you are infected with a bacterial infection, that will last longer than a stomach bug. Inform the doctor properly if you have been having the symptoms for more than 2 days.

Wrapping Up!  

Stomach bugs are not something uncommon during pregnancy, and everyone gets one at some point. But during pregnancy, as your immunity is down, it is likely that you will catch it easily. But one relief is that these viruses do not affect your baby, but it depends on how sick you are and in what stage of pregnancy you are.

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subhasree nag
Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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