How a Pregnant Mom Can Deal With the Stomach Flu

Stomach fluSince you discovered you’re pregnant, you’ve been really cautious and have been watching out for any symptoms related to pregnancy.

What you expect- feeling tired, nauseous, a little bloated and whatever else this baby will do to you. You can never be too sure.

However, this morning you woke up feeling different, sick to the stomach, really crampy, and tired.

So you’re probably wondering, ‘what did I eat last night?’

However, this has nothing to do with last night’s dinner. You have a case of the stomach flu. And boy is it dreadful.

You actually have gastroenteritis, otherwise known as the stomach flu.

It is an inflammation of the intestines which is caused by virus. It is frequently caused by two viruses namely norovirus and rotavirus.

Despite being referred to as the stomach flu, it is in no way related to the common “flu”.

Unfortunately, gastroenteritis is very common during pregnancy.

Several studies suggest that as many as 33% of women will experience gastroenteritis during their pregnancy.

What Signs and Symptoms should You Look Out For

The most common signs and symptoms include nausea, bloating, watery non-bloody diarrhea, Low-grade fever, headache, sweating, abdominal cramping, occasional muscle aches, and clammy skin.

These particular symptoms will actually feel different:

  • Bloating: The inflammation of your intestines and stomach can make you feel really bloated.
  • Nausea: The vomiting and nausea you experience when you have the stomach flu will only last a few days (probably less than ten). There’s a high likelihood that it lasts all day long.
  • Cramping: it’s good that it hurts. It’s a sign of your body trying to get rid of the foreign organism.

How Did You Get Gastroenteritis?

In the United States, viral gastroenteritis is the most common stomach flu.

It is commonly transmitted through direct contact, so you probably picked up the infection through contaminated water, food (seafood especially) or from someone who’s already infected with the virus.

Can The Stomach Flu Affect The Baby?

Don’t worry! Most cases of the stomach flu while expectant resolve without adverse outcomes on either the baby or the mom.

However, there are possible complications that you need to be aware of:

  • Severe dehydration: Can lower the blood flow to the placenta. This can be dangerous for your baby since the placenta supplies essential nutrients and oxygen to the baby.
  • Fever: May cause premature labor, miscarriage, and in rare cases birth defects.
  • Listeriosis: If you acquired a more serious type of gastroenteritis from Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria, these could cause premature labor, intrauterine death or serious neonatal infection which can only be detected 36 hours after birth.

How can you treat the Flu?

The bad news is that there really isn’t a quick fix to get rid of the stomach flu.

The good news is that there’s plenty of stuff you can do to manage the symptoms while you wait for the body to fight the flu off.

  • Rehydrate– This is the most important way to prevent any harm to your little one and to help the body recover. Since you’re losing a lot of fluids, take liquids such as water, decaf tea, clear broth, hot water with lemon, ginger tea or diluted juice. Do this every day and often.
  • Take a lot of rest– Pregnancy is already taking a toll on you leaving you tired and exhausted. The stomach flu won’t make it any easier. You need to rest, relax, or even take a nap. Your body needs the rest.
  • Take medications, but with caution– Antacids such as Maalox and Tums might ease the discomfort, pain relievers like Motrin and Tylenol. However, Motrin shouldn’t be used in the third trimester. Antidiarrheal drugs like Kaopectate or Imodium should be avoided during pregnancy. It is advisable to consult your OB/Gyn first regarding any medication.
  • Take the right foods– If you feel hungry, choose bland foods, those that are easily digestible and provide the necessary replacement nutrients. How about taking the BRAT diet, it always works. It consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
  • Stay away from aggravating drinks and foods– It’s safe to avoid salty or greasy foods, spicy food, fiber, caffeinated beverages, and dairy products in the meantime. They can be a bit too harsh on your stomach.

How can you prevent the Stomach Flu?

To avoid contracting the stomach flu again, keep these tips in mind:

  • Wash your hands– sounds a little obvious, but it is essential to wash your hands before handling food, after changing diapers or visiting the washroom.
  • Clean and disinfect the surfaces– the Bleach-based solution can be used to clean kitchen surfaces.
  • Avoid contact with an infected person– Keep sick family members restricted to a different bathroom while you disinfect the surfaces of the house, do this until everyone recovers.
  • Be extra cautious while traveling– Take bottled water and avoid undercooked meats, raw foods, and ice cubes.

You will eventually heal, so don’t fret! Your mom instincts and the doctor’s recommendations will act as your guide to recovery. Take good care of yourself and feel better soon!
Image: pixabay

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