Diarrhoea and vomiting in pregnancy

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

Stomach bugs can be exhausting for you and you should look after yourself if you catch one while pregnant.

Stomach bugs in pregnancy

Here are a few simple rules to remember if you do have a stomach bug:

  • If you do have diarrhoea and vomiting, don’t panic.
  • Make sure you rest as much as possible.
  • Drink plenty of water through the day.
  • Eat small, light meals if you are hungry and it doesn't make you feel sick. If you are not hungry, you do not have to eat for 24 hours so long as 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?

If the diarrhoea does not go away within 48 hours, see your GP.

You must NOT take any medication to stop diarrhoea in pregnancy without consulting a medical professional or pharmacist first.

If you also have any of the following you should see a medical professional as soon as possible:

  • a fever
  • any stomach pain
  • very dark urine
  • blood in the stool.

Sources

  1. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, FAQs pregnancy. Also available at: http://www.bhrhospitals.nhs.uk/our-services/faqs-pregnancy.htm#q7 (accessed 28 April 2014)
  2. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J, Mayes’ midwifery, fourteenth edition, Edinburgh Baillir̈e Tindall Elsevier, 2012

 

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Comments

  • 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 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

  • By Kristen (not verified) on 17 Apr 2018 - 23:52

    I was feeling nauseous yesterday and ended up getting sick a lot. Every 20 minutes for a few hours, and then roughly every hour after that for a few hours. Near the end my stomach was active and I’ve ended up having diarrhea twice since I stopped puking. This is my first time getting sick with my pregnancy, and I had some Brie about 6 hours before getting ill (that my husband also had and he is fine, and it said it was from pasteurized milk so I thought it was ok). Should I be concerned about listeria? It’s been about 12 hours and I’m starting to feel better, just with a small headache and feeling weak.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Apr 2018 - 10:47

    Hi Kristen,
    It maybe that you have simply picked up a bug however given that you did have brie then it maybe worth speaking with your GP and they may request a stool sample to test to see if you have been affected by listeria. Even though your husband has been well, as a pregnant woman your immune system is not as strong and you are up to 10 times for likely to be affect by listeria.
    Best wishes, Tommy's midwives

  • By Charlotte (not verified) on 16 Apr 2018 - 07:23

    I’ve vomited 5 times this morning since 5:45am. I’ve been trying to sip water but it comes back up. I’ve got quite bad stomach pains too which are all over my stomach. I’ve had two lots of diarrhoea too. I’m 14 weeks + 4days. Should I wait 24hrs and see how I go or contact someone?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Apr 2018 - 10:19

    Hi Charlotte, So sorry that you are feeling so unwell. It is unlikely that your baby will be harmed if you have a bug lasting less than 48 hours but if you are experiencing severe stomach pains you should contact your GP. Please make sure that you keep well hydrated. Even if you feel you can't keep anything down, you may be drinking enough fluid to keep the colour of your urine normal. If it is very dark in colour or if you are peeing less than four times a day you should seek advice. I hope you feel better soon x

  • By Laura (not verified) on 14 Apr 2018 - 21:48

    Hi. I'm just 11 weeks pregnant the more the pregnancy goes on the worse my sickness gets now I keep needing to go the toilet and get sick when I eat. Should I go see my doc or is this normal?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Apr 2018 - 09:43

    Hi Laura, So sorry to hear you are feeling so unwell. Unfortunately, it is quite common for women to feel very nauseous in the first trimester. In most (but not all) situations the sickness resolves between 12 and 14 weeks and women start to feel well again. If you are not able to hold down any fluids you should see your doctor for advice.
    Diarrhoea though is not so common in pregnancy and we would advise you to see your GP if this goes on for longer than two days. Please remember to wash your hands after going to the toilet or before preparing any food. I hope this helps and that you feel better soon. Take care

  • By Fiona (not verified) on 14 Apr 2018 - 07:47

    I have been feeling extremely nauseous for the past week and haven’t been able to manage more than a mouthful of food for about 3/4 days. When I finally did eat yesterday, I had to run to the toilet. Earlier in the week I had bad stomach pains and chills which seem to have died down a little bit now. I’ve woken up every night with a little sickness in my throat but haven’t thrown up yet. Should I be seeing maternity assessment? Thanks.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Apr 2018 - 09:34

    Hi Fiona, Sorry you are feeling so unwell. If you have a fever or stomach pains you should see a doctor and as it has been affecting you for a week already it seems sensible to ask your doctor's advice. Have the baby's movements been normal? Are you able to keep hydrated? I hope you feel better soon. Take care

  • By Nikki (not verified) on 12 Apr 2018 - 07:25

    Hi im 28 weeks and the past 24hours I've had diarrhoea and nausea .. do I need to be worried??

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Apr 2018 - 09:51

    Hi Nikki
    It sounds as if you may have a bug or have eaten something that has not agreed with you. If you continue to have these symptoms for the next 24-48 hours, then it would be sensible to be reviewed by a midwife in your maternity unit triage/day assessment unit/labour ward. Please drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated and eat little and often if you can to keep your energy levels up. If you are getting good fetal movements as usual, and the upset stomach is starting to settle over the next 2 days, then you don't need to worry.
    If you are concerned about fetal movements, abdominal pain or if the symptoms persist between now and over the next 24-48 hours, then you need to be reviewed sooner rather than later. We don't recommend taking diarrhoa into a hospital unless it has persisted for 72 hours to prevent further spread. But abdominal pain and reduced fetal movements take priority, so if you have concerns over either of these, you will need to be reviewed as soon as possible with your pregnancy notes at your local unit.
    If you need to talk any of this through further over the phone, please call 0800 0147800
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Emma (not verified) on 3 Apr 2018 - 05:29

    yesterday I returned from holiday from Lancashire. I am sure I ate a lot of food that's not healthy at all. But when sleeping I felt sick and had diarrhea and then vomited air of undigested food. Then went back to sleep and c started having tummy ache which was uncomfortable throughout the night and couldn't sleep. Please help me. I have work.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Apr 2018 - 15:50

    Hi Emma
    Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry to read that you have been unwell.
    It sounds like you have had an episode of gastro-enteritis-this could be due to a virus or you may have had food poisoning-has any other family members or friends had similar symptoms recently?
    I hope your symptoms have improved by now, but if not or they are getting worse I would suggest you contact your GP for advice.
    NHS Choices recommends-
    "Until you feel better, you should rest and drink fluids to prevent dehydration. Try to drink plenty of water, even if you can only sip it.
    Eat when you feel up to it, but try small, light meals at first and stick to bland foods – such as toast, crackers, bananas and rice – until you begin to feel better. "

    I have attached a link which you may find helpful-
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Food-poisoning/

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Heather (not verified) on 14 Mar 2018 - 15:09

    Hi I found out I was pregnant very early, I've been feeling sick everyday it doesn't go away, I try eating smaller meals plain foods and drinking but now I've started being sick and shaking and very cold can't seem to warm up. Also bad pains in my stomach, I want to wait as first midwife appointment is next week, but just wanted to ask am I alright to just wait until I see them then?? Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Mar 2018 - 16:26

    Hi Heather,
    I am sorry to hear that you are feeling so unwell. It is difficult to know what is happening, it maybe that you have a virus and become unwell or if it is pregnancy sickness. If the pains and sickness are on going then do speak with your GP , try to regularly sip water to ensure that you are keeping hydrated. I few can support you further then please do be in touch with use - [email protected] Best wishes, Tommy's midwives.

  • By Leigh-Ann (not verified) on 22 Feb 2018 - 08:21

    Hi, I have felt ill since I ate lunch on Tuesday 20th Feb. I went home from work and since then have had diarrhoea. Today I have quite bad tummy pains as well as in my ribs. I'm not sure how to explain the pains, they feel sharp and are not cramps.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Feb 2018 - 15:29

    Hi, Thankyou for your comment.

    We are sorry to hear you have been feeling so unwell. It could be that you have picked up a stomach bug from something you have eaten or just out and about. If you are pregnant and this pain is constant and not improving then we would advice that you get checked over. Keep drinking plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated and try and eat little and often if you can manage it and rest until you feel better. If you are not getting any better then again please seek medical advice. Hope this helps, Take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Brenda sasha (not verified) on 21 Feb 2018 - 12:25

    I have vomited and had stomach pains in the night can it mean am pregnant again because these were the same symptoms I had with my first pregnancy

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Feb 2018 - 14:30

    Hi Brenda
    Vomiting and stomach pains can be attributed to many illness'/virus' etc more commonly than pregnancy. If you are actively trying to conceive, then please do take a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant or not.
    If you have any further questions, please do feel free to contact us.
    Sophie. Tommy's Midwife

  • By thabile (not verified) on 15 Feb 2018 - 09:30

    Good Day

    i have a diarrhea since sunday,but its not that strong

    should i get worried or take it easy.am 4 months pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Feb 2018 - 12:07

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    Sorry to hear the you have been having diarrhoea for a few days now, especially as you are pregnant. As you have had this longer then 48 hours, we would recommend that you see your GP. It could be a stomach bug that you have and it may need treatment, but we would encourage you to see your doctor.
    Make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids as having diarrhoea can cause you to be dehydrated, also maintain a healthy diet. Your doctor may check your urine for signs of dehydration and give you treatment if needed. Hope this helps, Take care and feel better soon, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Angela Cameron (not verified) on 10 Feb 2018 - 23:57

    Nausea started at week 4 and was driving me crazy. I was getting nauseous even after drinking water and was unable to eat and drink. Unisom, vitamin B6, ginger ale, even Zofran didn't work for me, but once I started drinking No to morning sickness tea, my nausea ended miraculously.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Feb 2018 - 10:32

    Hi Angela.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am glad to hear that you are feeling better.
    All the best
    Sophie, Tommy's Midwife

  • By chantelle (not verified) on 28 Jan 2018 - 19:29

    Hi I am 37+3 weeks pregnant with my first baby and have been vomiting for aboutique a week in have a lot of lower back pain just to the right of my back which is effecting my walk and have stomach pain and dark urine is any of this dangerous for my baby x

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Jan 2018 - 15:35

    Hi Chantelle,
    I am so sorry you are poorly and it sounds like you are dehydrated as you mention that your urine is dark. Please get checked out today at your Maternity unit. There should be a contact number on the front of your notes so contact them in advance and explain what symptoms you have and how you have been vomiting for about a week.
    You can be treated and they will also listen in to your baby for a longer time than usual on a CTG machine. You may need treatment including intravenous fluids and blood tests but you must get in contact ASAP.
    Wishing you well
    Anna-Tommy's Midwife

  • By Jordan (not verified) on 24 Jan 2018 - 21:34

    Hi, I have caught the sickness bug that my daughter has, I'm currently 17+4 and from where I have been sick I have pains in my stomach. Will this affect the baby?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Jan 2018 - 10:46

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    Sorry that you have been feeling so unwell, hopefully this sickness bug wont last for too long. Having sickness in pregnancy shouldn't effect the baby as they get all the nutrients from the placenta, however, if you are experiencing abdominal pain then we would always advice that this needs to be checked. If you can contact your GP, midwife or maternity unit then they will be able to check you over and listen in to baby's heartbeat. Keep drinking plenty of fluids and eat little and often if you can tolerate it. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Summer (not verified) on 28 Dec 2017 - 18:10

    Diarrhea vomiting and dark urine for 4 days now saw my obgyn they said to just take it easy and try to keep things down if it lasts longer then to come back. How much longer do I wait to go back to see the dr?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2018 - 14:40

    Hi Summer
    I really hope that you are feeling better by now. Apologies in the delay in the response, but we had a Christmas break from Fri 22nd Dec 2017-Tues 2nd Jan 2018. If you do not feel any better by now, please do go and get yourself seen urgently again. If you have more concerns, please feel free to get in touch with us by telephone or email. Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 29 Nov 2017 - 22:22

    No to morning sickness tea is Godsend. I was on Zofran to manage my severe morning sickness and the side effect has been constipation. As someone that “goes” quite regularly, having my “schedule” thrown off was really causing havoc on my body. 4 mornings of drinking the tea on an empty stomach has worked like a charm. I also think it has helped with heartburn and indigestion-

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Nov 2017 - 14:07

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.
    Pregnancy sickness isn't enjoyable and every pregnant woman will have her own ways of coping with this. We advised that in pregnancy to try and drink plenty of fluids, maintain a healthy diet and rest well when feeling nausea or vomiting. If vomiting worsens and fluids can't be kept down, then it is advisable to see the GP who will check for signs of dehydration. Take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Nov 2017 - 10:16

    Hi, I am sorry to hear that you are unwell at the moment. You do not mention how many weeks pregnant you are however the most important thing is to try and stay hydrated, taking small sips of water through out the day. If you are unable to keep down any water or your dark urine continues or you have any other symptoms such as pain or bleeding then do ring your GP for advice.

  • By Michelle (not verified) on 9 Nov 2017 - 18:02

    I have had diarrhea and vomiting and dark urine since 2am yesterday what should I do

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