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.

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.
  • Make sure you 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.

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

See your GP if:

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

If you can’t get to your GP surgery you may be able to organise a telephone appointment.

DO NOT take any medication to stop diarrhoea in pregnancy, such as Imodium, without speaking to your GP, midwife or pharmacist first.

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 anything. Find out more about drugs and medicines in pregnancy.

Speak to your GP, midwife or a hospital doctor as soon as possible if you have:

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

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

Read more

Sources

NHS Choices Diarrhoea and vomiting https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diarrhoea-and-vomiting/ (Page last reviewed 16/04/2018 Next review due: 16/04/2021)

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Last reviewed on September 28th, 2018. Next review date September 28th, 2018.

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Comments

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 8 Nov 2018 - 23:10

    I am 36 weeks pregnant, have felt queasy on and off for the last few days but today I have felt sick since lunchtime and vomited quite badly this evening. Should I be worried?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Nov 2018 - 15:57

    Hi. One episode of nausea and vomiting is not a reason to be concerned. If the vomiting continues for 72 hours or more, then it would be advisable for you to be seen in your hospital maternity unit. But otherwise, this could be attributed to any number of virus', cold or pregnancy symptoms.
    Please take good care of yourself and rest up.
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Leanne (not verified) on 5 Nov 2018 - 17:06

    Hi,

    I'm really worried had severe diarrhoea and stomache pains over the weekend, only 7/8 weeks pregnant. It's stopped but I still feel very weak and dizzy. How can I tell of this is a bug or food related? I haven't had a high temperature, but have started feeling hot and stuffy. Should I see someone or see if my symptoms improve over the next few days?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Nov 2018 - 15:06

    Hi Leanne, Thank you for your comment.

    It is reassuring that you haven't had a temperature but after having diarrhoea your body will be trying to replace the fluids which it has lost so will leave you weak and dizzy. It is important that you drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated. If these symptoms have not got any better or you are feeling worse, then we would recommend that you see your GP who will be able to send off a stool sample and this will identify if you have a bug that needs treating. Feel better soon, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Thelma (not verified) on 27 Oct 2018 - 10:25

    Hy am 32 weeks pregnant
    I've been having diarrhoea for 3 days now and I feel very dizzy even after Eating and I can hardly sleep well..But the baby's movements are fine ...and I've not been drinking a lot of water.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Oct 2018 - 15:19

    Hi Thelma. It sounds like you need to see a midwife in the pregnancy triage unit urgently as:
    your diarrhoea has not gone away within 48 hours and you continue to feel dizzy (which could indicate anaemia)

    DO NOT take any medication to stop diarrhoea in pregnancy, such as Imodium, without speaking to your GP, midwife or pharmacist first.
    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 anything. Find out more about drugs and medicines in pregnancy.
    You may have dehydration or a gastrointestinal problem and need treatment urgently. Please be seen as quickly as possible
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Yasmine (not verified) on 21 Oct 2018 - 17:28

    Hello, I have currently got a bad sickness bug to which I’m struggling to even keep down sips of water. I’ve noticed over the course of the day my baby has hardly moved. Can this be that she is also feeling under the weather? Is it normal? Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Oct 2018 - 15:39

    If you are not able to keep sips of water down, please see your doctor. Also if you are concerned by the baby movements at 37 weeks, please go to your maternity unit for advice. It may be that the sickness is keeping the baby quiet, but without being able to examine you it is best to advise on the cautious side. Take care.

  • By Naz (not verified) on 26 Sep 2018 - 13:02

    Hi I am 22weeks pregnant and reached home last night from work feeling very sick didn’t manage to eat dinner and suddenly I was violently sick and this was happening on and off all night as well as diarrhoea. Should I be worried? Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Sep 2018 - 13:42

    Hi Naz
    If your vomiting goes on for 72 hours or more, then you need to go into your maternity unit for urgent review with a midwife and obstetric doctor. Up until 72 hrs, it is important that you stay well hydrated and try to eat little amounts, as often as you can to keep up your nutrition.
    If you need to call to talk anything through please do.
    All the best
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Victoria (not verified) on 20 Sep 2018 - 06:37

    Hello. Last night I went out for a meal, I had lamb, I was told the meat was all pregnancy safe. The room was very warm and I ended up leaving the restaurant after my meal due to be to warm. As soon as I went outside I was fine but when I got home I had diarrhoea. I felt fine after that but this morning I went to the bathroom and had a bit more diarrhoea. I have no fever, feel absolutely fine otherwise and have been able to keep down water. I am 14 weeks pregnant.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Sep 2018 - 15:56

    Hi Victoria, There is no knowing whether this is related to the food eaten last night or whether you may have an unrelated tummy bug. Try not to worry, As long as this resolves quickly and you have no dehydration there is no reason to think that your pregnancy will be affected. With best wishes for a full recovery. Tommy's midwives

  • By Emma (not verified) on 19 Sep 2018 - 20:12

    Hello,

    I suddenly needed to vomit immediately after eating lunch 2 days ago and was quite violently ill. I have not been sick since, though feel a bit queasy still. My baby has been moving normally for the last 2 days but on reflection was a bit quieter the day before I was sick. I went to the doctor and have no temperature, normal blood pressure and he said the heartbeat was fine but I’m still worried because I still feel a bit odd. I’ve had no diahorrea or any other pain or symptoms. Should I be worried about still feeling sick?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Sep 2018 - 12:04

    Hi Emma, Sorry to hear you have been feeling unwell. It's good advice to see your GP or midwife if these symptoms continue past 2-3 days but it is reassuring that the GP has seen you and had no concerns. Just as when you aren't pregnant you can get the occasional bug, but your baby is unlikely to be at risk and you should start to feel better soon. Take care

  • By Nina (not verified) on 18 Sep 2018 - 03:44

    I’m 20 weeks pregnant and my husband has had a low-level stomach bug over the past week, which I think I’ve picked up. I’m making sure I keep my fluids up, and will go to my GP if it persists beyond 48 hours, but I was wondering, as diarrhoea is my main problem, with some quite forceful stomach cramping, what to I need to watch out for/be aware of in terms of preterm labour? Is there anything I can do to help prevent it? Thank you!

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Sep 2018 - 13:58

    Hi Nina, Thank you for your comment.
    You are keeping your fluids up and this is what we would recommend you to do. With regards to pre term labour, if the cramping that you are having is related to an episode if diarrhoea then just try and rest as much as you can. If you feel that you are getting constant abdominal pain or bleeding, or pains that come and go then we would recommend that you call your local maternity unit for further advice. Please see your GP if you are still having symptoms of this stomach bug. Take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Zena Simpson (not verified) on 17 Sep 2018 - 13:54

    Hi! I'm hoping you can help me.
    I'm 22wks pregnant and yesterday after feeling rough with stomach cramps for two days I was badly sick and diarrhea. I felt fine once it had all come out just, spent the day sleeping.
    We had been away all week and didn't get much sleep so I don't really know how to treat it, as a bug or just me pregnant!
    Would be grateful for some feedback.
    Thanks. Zena

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Sep 2018 - 12:56

    Hi Zena,
    It sounds like you had a bug but either way if it has resolved and you have managed to catch up on sleep then this is reassuring. If you have ongoing symptoms then tried to keep hydrated and practise hand hygiene. If you are unable to keep fluids in or this carries on for several days or you have a fever then do contact your GP or midwife for a review.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwives

  • By Verity (not verified) on 13 Sep 2018 - 18:57

    Hi, I’m 28 weeks pregnant and have been suffering now for a week or more with loose stools. It’s not proper diarrhoea as I only go once/ twice a day. But it’s more than I would normally go and I haven’t had a single solid bowel movement for many days. I also have some nausea although no vomiting, and mainly when hungry which is the same as I had in first trimester. Baby is moving lots so no concerns there but I do have a bit of pressure down below. I have no reason to suspect precterm labour, I was induced on due date with my first. Should I say anything or just accept it as a pregnancy symptom?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Sep 2018 - 12:12

    Hi Verity,
    It is difficult to know if it is pregnancy related or you have just picked up a bit of a bug which your body is working through. If you are only going 1-2 times a day then I would suggest just to monitor. If this increases, or you have any pain, bleeding or fever then do see your GP. You should also have midwife appointment around this time, so do speak with your midwife about your symptoms.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Jemma (not verified) on 26 Aug 2018 - 18:30

    Hello, I’m just 5 week pregnant and have diarrhea. Is this normal and due to an influx of hormones? I have 2 children already (very fortunate!) however I’ve not experienced this before, just morning sickness. Many thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Aug 2018 - 16:05

    Hi Jemma
    Diarrhoea is most likely to be associated with a 24-72 hour bug. It is not usually due to a change in hormones. If it goes on for more than 3 days, then please call 111 for advice or go to your GP to be reviewed. I hope you feel better soon. Stay well hydrated by drinking 2-3 litres of water a day.
    All the best Tommy's Midwife

  • By Xiomara (not verified) on 8 Aug 2018 - 22:46

    Since about 3 in the morning I’ve been feeling like I need to use the bathroom. Recently today I started to have diarrhea and I’ve been throwing up at the same time. Should I got to the doctors and see what’s going on?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Aug 2018 - 14:46

    No, If you have diarrhoea and vomiting the best thing you can do is to use the advice on this page and see your GP if you still have symptoms after 48 hours. Hope you feel better soon.

  • By Tiffany (not verified) on 8 Aug 2018 - 20:14

    I work in a nursery (baby room) and we sent five children home due to vomiting today. I'm 13 weeks pregnant and worried about whether it's safe for me to go to work tomorrow. It's also hard to tell whether my nausea is my normal pregnancy stuff or early signs of this.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Aug 2018 - 14:42

    If you are feeling unwell and think there is a chance that this is a stomach bug it would be sensible to keep away from work. We advise stringent hand hygiene particularly after going to the toilet or before preparing food and this will reduce the spread od infection to some degree.
    I hope you feel better soon.

  • By Billie (not verified) on 7 Aug 2018 - 15:12

    Hi, I'm 30+6 weeks and had diarrhoea for over a week now! Some days it ent as much as others but I'm not normally like this with passing stools. Normally I have like two a week max!! .. anything I eat is not staying in my stomach. I'm threatened preterm labour at 25 weeks and had steroids etc as had a positive test for preterm along with tightenings. Baby movements have been less since last night but checked today at triage and baby is happy it had changed position so they said it could be that, I forgot to mention about diarrhoea. What do you recommend I do as I've seen online it can be a symptom of preterm labour? I am not having tightenings, constant dull period like cramping feeling in lower abdo but nothing major not having to take pain relief

    Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Aug 2018 - 15:49

    Hi Billie, thank you for your comment.
    We are sorry to hear that you have been feeling unwell, as you have been having loose stools for a week now it would be advisable for you to see your GP who can send off a stool sample to see if there is anything that is causing this diarrhoea. If could be that you have a tummy bug but again as you have had this over a week you need to be seen by the GP. Alternatively, if these pains are still happening then you must call the maternity unit again to be checked over just in case labour is starting. Keep drinking plenty of fluids and eat a health diet. Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Chloe Atherton (not verified) on 1 Aug 2018 - 12:06

    Ok so i am 15 weeks pregnant last week i had a lot of lower pulling pain and for the last 2 days now iv been to the toilet but my belly makes wired noises and when i do go its only a little bit and seems like the runs but iv got a little bit of belly pain now

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Aug 2018 - 14:58

    Hi Chloe
    Because this has been going on for over a week now, i would recommend that you go to your GP urgently. If he/she is concerned, then they may refer you to the local early pregnancy assessment unit to be seen there.
    Please tell the receptionist that you are pregnant so that the appointment can be an urgent one for asap.
    Please take good care of yourself
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Tasha (not verified) on 28 Jul 2018 - 08:09

    After having taken Clindamycin for 2.5 days (precautionary after having a cervical suture fitted) I have had persistent diarrhoea for 11 days which is showing no signs of stopping. GP has ruled out C-diff. Throughout the day my stomach is constantly gurgling and churning and when I go to the toilet it’s just like water. GP has prescribed dioralyte but offered little other advice. I’m worried about the effect on the baby if it persists for much longer. I’m currently 14 weeks pregnant.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Jul 2018 - 14:55

    Hi Tasha
    Dioralyte is a rehydration therapy which will help put back some salts and electrolytes that you may be short in after a prolonged period of diarrhoea. You should also drink plenty of water and ensure strict hand hygiene for you and your family. If it persists please see your GP again. It may be necessary to test a stool sample for bacteria or viruses. I hope you feel better soon. Take care

  • By Tash (not verified) on 27 Jul 2018 - 22:04

    Been having an upset stomach for a few days now, it’s very dark/black. I’ve not eaten dark foods, not changed my diet, drink plenty of water and I’m not taking any supplements. I’m 20 weeks pregnant so not sure if hormones would be causing it. Any ideas on what’s causing it?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Jul 2018 - 14:04

    Hi Tash, Dark stools can be caused by some foods or by iron supplementation but I would suggest that you consult your doctor to rule out anything serious.

  • By Danielle (not verified) on 24 Jul 2018 - 13:22

    I have had a craving for lemons so yesterday I had a lot of lemons in water to drink and also ate a lemon, also for dinner I cooked mince however still a little ice In the middle, my partner ate this too and had no symptoms so don’t think it’s due to that. However last night I have had a funny belly with diarrhoea aswell as stomach pains and nausea I am trying to stay hydrated but not sure what to do.. if it was caused by food poisoning or maybe just me having too many lemons? I’m 15 weeks 1day. Thanks in advance

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Jul 2018 - 15:14

    Hi Danielle
    Your upset stomach is almost 100% linked to how many lemons you have eaten/had in your drinks. It is a very acidic fruit and this can cause intestinal irritation if consumed in large quantities as you have. It is very unlikely that the mince meat was the culprit in this case. If it continues for over 48 hours, please consult your GP. But yes, stay well hydrated and rest up!
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Jul 2018 - 18:55

    Hi There

    Since Sunday morning I’ve had a runny tummy from something I ate a bbq Sat evening. Def not pregnancy related as Hubby has been suffering too.

    No other symptoms, I think it was fairly mild as wasn’t rushing to bathroom every few mins but obviously wasn’t good when I went and had two day off work. Seem to be improving three days later but as it was food related worried it may affect baby at this early stage.

    Previously pregnancy misscarried so hoping all will be ok.
    Is there anyway I can find out for sure?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Jul 2018 - 11:34

    Hi Thank you for your comment.
    It does sound like what you and your husband have eaten has something to do with you both being unwell. Having loose stools and vomiting in pregnancy isn't nice but it shouldn't be something to be overly concerned about. It sounds like it resolved itself after a few days.

    If you think that you may have eaten any uncooked meat or anything that may carry listeria or toxoplasmosis then please go and see your GP for blood tests for these, but again feel reassured that this does sound like you have caught a bug as you both suffered the same symptoms.

    Keep drinking plenty of fluids to keep hydrated and maintain a healthy diet. Baby will get all the nutrients it needs from the placenta but if you are concerned you can always see you GP for further advice. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 12 Jun 2018 - 11:04

    I've been vomiting stomach acid every day for over a week now but nausea for months, partner caught flu and now I think I have it (even though I had the vaccine at 20 weeks, now achy bones, blocked sinuses, runny nose, vomiting) I have dark urine, constipated. I try to drink 1l of water a day but never keep that much down as even sipping triggers acid reflux. Been to the hospital 3 times this week for spd and every time they take a urine sample they just say to drink more water. What else can I do please?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Jun 2018 - 11:53

    Hi there
    I'm sorry that you're not feeling at all well at the moment! If you have been reviewed at the hospital, then it sounds like they have done all of the tests that they need to do to ensure that you are well enough to send home. Drinking at least 2 litres of water a day would help you to re-hydrate your body and flush out all of the nasty bugs from your virus/flu. Also trying to eat a little if you can will give your body something to digest so that you are not bringing up stomach acid alone. Were you offered any anti sickness tablets? If you continue to feel unwell though, you should go back into be reviewed again to make sure that you are well enough, sometimes women need IV fluids to re-hydrate if you have been feeling so unwell for such a long time.
    If you wish to call us on the pregnancyline we can talk this through in more depth
    Feel better soon!
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Tracy james (not verified) on 22 Jul 2018 - 12:07

    Hi,I have been having stomach upset since morning
    And I'm six months pregnant.
    I have been frequenting the toilet since morning and I'm loosing strength..
    Pls what do I do??

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Jul 2018 - 15:22

    Hi Tracy
    No need to panic. Rest up, drink plenty of water (2-3 litres per day) whilst you are having the loose stools and eat a little if you can stomach it. If your symptoms persist for over 48-72hours, then you should go to your maternity unit. But anything less than 48 hours can be managed at home with some basic self care.
    Please feel free to call us if you need further advice.
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By J Cox (not verified) on 24 May 2018 - 13:26

    Hi I am 26 weeks 5 days.. I woke up at 1230am with stomach pains then the urge of needing to vomit...I ran for bathroom and threw up non stop then tried to drink some water which I threw up..I sat up in bed to settle the indigestion. Finally fell back to sleep but awoke at 4am with the upset stomach and the urge to needing to pass a BM but can't...should I call my doctor!?!

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 May 2018 - 16:23

    Hi,
    Sorry to hear that you are feeling so unwell, sounds like you have a stomach bug of some sorts that needs to work its way through. You only need to see your doctor of you are unable to keep down any water or food, otherwise it is best to be at home and rest, taking in sips of water. It should hopefully passed in the next day or so. If it continues longer than this then yes speak with your doctor.
    Best wishes, Tommy's midwives

  • By sinead (not verified) on 16 May 2018 - 19:06

    Hi, I've just finished a week of amoxicillin for a UTI, and now have had a low grade fever for a few days, its staying around 37.8-38c. I now have diarrhea too within everything I eat running right through me. I teach 4 /5 year olds so constantly surrounded by bugs! Should I see the doctor or just wait it out?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 May 2018 - 13:46

    Hi Sinead, Thank you for your comment.

    As you have a temperature of 38 then we would recommend that you see a doctor, especially as you now have diarrhoea and you may run the risk of becoming dehydrated. You don't say how may weeks pregnant you are but please call your GP or local maternity unit for further advice and be seen. Try and drink plenty of fluids at this time and rest, hope you feel better soon. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Katie-May (not verified) on 28 Apr 2018 - 15:19

    I'm nearly 30 weeks pregnant. I've come down with the sickness and Diarrhea and feel terrible. I can't stand the thought of food and I can't keep water down. My belly is aching and sore but I'm thinking maybe it's because I've pulling my stomach as I'm being sick? Any advice would be great please.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Apr 2018 - 11:28

    Hi Katie-May,
    So sorry you are feeling so unwell. As you left this message on Saturday I am hoping that you are feeling a little better now. Also good that you have accessed the information on this page. If symptoms are still persisting today please arrange to see your doctor or your midwife. Take good care of yourself.

  • By Laura (not verified) on 19 Apr 2018 - 20:34

    I’ve just found out I’m pregnant but am worried as in the last two weeks I was abroad and got diarrhoea and so took tablets and then when we got back my 4 year old had a mild case of chicken pox! Will this have impacted on the baby? Also I have a stitch like pain on the left hand side. Even as I write this I feel like a drama queen but just wanted some advice! Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Apr 2018 - 13:16

    Hi Laura,
    You are not a drama queen at all, its important to ask about anything that maybe worry you, and pregnancy can be a minefield!
    You do not say which diarrhoea tablets you took, however as a general rule it is very unlikely to have caused any harm to your baby, like any medication in pregnancy it is weighing up the risks v benefits as almost all medication is not tested on pregnancy women for ethical reasons.
    With regards to the chicken pox, have you had chicken pox yourself? If so then you will more than likely be immune and therefore there is no risk to your baby. If you are unsure or if you have not had chickenpox yourself then your GP can do a blood test to see if you are at risk, to check for immunity and/or a recent infection.
    Your pain on your left hand side, keep an eye on it, if it is constant and worsening or you have any bleeding, feeling unwell or shoulder tip pain then see your GP straight away. If it is mild and not there all the time then could be normal, or trapped wind or constipation?
    I hope this has helped... please know you can always email us [email protected] for support if needed.
    Best wishes, Tommy's midwives

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