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You Are Near Your Due Date And Diarrhea Hits: Are You In Labor?
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  • When you are pregnant and it is nearly your due date, and then diarrhea hits, it’s easy to blame the chili con carne you ate for lunch, followed by green mangoes in the afternoon. But there is also a possibility you might be in labor soon, but it depends on several factors.

    Is diarrhea a sign of labor, or is it really just diarrhea?

    Diarrhea during pregnancy may be caused by several factors, according to Healthline. One could be the changes in your diet. Another is the production of hormones doing its job to prepare your body for birth, and the third could be a reaction to prenatal vitamins.

    Romper quotes ob-gyn Dr. Thomas Ruiz as saying, “Diarrhea is not typically a sign that labor is about to come. Although, when a woman is having regular uterine contractions, loose stools are not uncommon.”

    The pregnancy hormone relaxin loosens a woman’s ligaments and joints in preparation for childbirth. That includes the rectum joints, which can be a reason for diarrhea, but it does not necessarily mean you’re in labor already.

    According to an article in Medical News Today, another cause of pregnancy diarrhea is the rise of prostaglandin levels.

    “Prostaglandins, such as oxytocin, help stimulate contractions in the uterus but can also increase movement along the digestive tract,” it reads.

    The article also adds that there has been no up-to-date research showing the prevalence of diarrhea in pregnant women.

    Diarrhea and signs of labor

    So how can you tell if it’s really diarrhea you are experiencing? Two factors define diarrhea: the frequency of your visits to the bathroom and the consistency of your stools.

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    According to MedicineNet, a frequency of more than three bowel movements in a day may be considered diarrhea. Liquid or watery is never regular and thus regarded as diarrheal.

    With back pain and that heavy feeling that you are about to pop, having diarrhea near your due date is undoubtedly an added discomfort, but as we mentioned, not necessarily part of the pre-labor process.

    So how can you tell if it’s really just something you ate or if that little one can’t wait to come out? Here is a list of accompanying symptoms that you should watch out for that can mean you are in labor:

    Menstrual-like cramps

    The cramps can mean contractions or the tightening of the muscles in the uterus.

    Losing your mucus plug

    The mucus plug is a clear, sticky, and gelatin-like substance when it is discharged from your body. It acts like a cork in your cervix throughout the nine months of pregnancy.

    For some women, losing the mucus plug happens simultaneously when they experience the bloody show or when you start having a red, pink, or brown discharge — a sign that labor is about to begin (read more about the mucus plug here).

    Heartburn

    Or that burning pain in the lower chest caused by acid reflux

    Lower back pain

    The pain is a result of joints and ligaments loosening. It can worsen and may radiate in the pelvis area (pelvic pain) if you are 24-48 hours away from giving birth.

    If you it's really just diarrhea and you're pregnant

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    If you think it’s not time to call your doctor yet but you are experiencing diarrhea, you can relax and bit and do the following while waiting for the big day:

    Drink lots of water

    One of the effects of diarrhea is dehydration, so it’s essential to keep yourself hydrated by drinking 8 or more glasses of water a day.

    Go slow on fatty and oily foods

    The kare-kare, adobo, coffee, and anything with heavy dairy can wait. Instead, go for soups, bread, yogurt, oatmeal, and the like. The trick is to hydrate and eat light and healthy.

    Have easy access to the bathroom

    Running from the other end of the room just to ‘make in on time’ might not be as easy for a woman anticipating her due, so stay close to the bathroom for easy access.

    If your pregnancy diarrhea is accompanied by fever, severe stomach pain, or lasts more than one to two days, it’s time to call your doctor.

    Diarrhea isn’t severe for the most part, but it’s essential to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids.

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