Diarrhoea and vomiting in pregnancy

Stomach bugs are common in pregnancy. It is very unlikely that your baby will be harmed from a bug lasting less than 48 hours.

Vomiting without diarrhoea may be pregnancy sickness (morning sickness).  

This information is if you have both vomiting and diarrhoea. The most likely cause of this is a stomach bug (infection or virus), which should pass after two days (48 hours).  

Stomach bugs can very tiring. Try to look after yourself if you catch one. 

Stomach bugs in pregnancy

Here are a few things to do if you have a stomach bug: 

  • Don’t panic if you do have diarrhoea and vomiting. Try to concentrate on taking care of yourself. 
  • Make sure you stay at home and rest as much as possible. 
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. 
  • Eat small, light meals if you are hungry and it doesn't make you feel sick. 
  • If you don’t eat for 24 hours, don’t worry, but make sure you drink plenty of fluid. 
  • Wash your hands before and after going to the toilet and after vomiting. 

Diarrhoea and vomiting can spread easily. You should stay at home until you have not been sick or had diarrhoea for at least 2 days.

When should I see a doctor with diarrhoea and/or vomiting in pregnancy? 

See your GP if: 

  • you are unable to keep any fluids down. 
  • the diarrhoea or vomiting does not go away within 48 hours.

DO NOT take any medication to stop diarrhoea in pregnancy, such as Imodium, without speaking to your GP, midwife or pharmacist first. This is because these medications are not usually recommended in pregnancy.

There are many medicines that can be unsafe to take during pregnancy. So it’s always best to ask your doctor, midwife, pharmacist or dentist before you take any kind of medications. This includes over the counter medications or herbal remedies. Find out more about drugs and medicines in pregnancy

Speak to your GP, midwife or maternity unit as soon as possible if you have: 

  • a fever 
  • any stomach pain 
  • very dark wee 
  • bloody diarrhoea or bleeding from your bottom.

You may have dehydration or a gastrointestinal problem, and need treatment. 

Contact your GP or call NHS 111 if there are any small streaks of blood in your vomit. 

Call 999 if you: 

  • vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee 
  • have green or yellow-green vomit 
  • might have swallowed something poisonous. 
  • have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights 
  • have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache.

NHS. Diarrhoea and vomiting https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diarrhoea-and-vomiting/ (Past last reviewed: 7 December 2020 Next review due: 7 December 2023)

NHS. Loperamide. https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/loperamide/ (Past last reviewed: 8 March 2021 Next review due: 8 March 2024)

NHS. Vomiting blood. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vomiting-blood/ (Page last reviewed: 5 April 2022 Next review due: 5 April 2025)

Review dates
Reviewed: 21 February 2023
Next review: 21 February 2026