Easy methods to Handle the Situation Safely

Pregnancy is a journey full of many new, thrilling, and—let’s face it—generally irritating uncomfortable side effects. One minute, you feel the enjoyment of your child kick for the primary time, and the subsequent, you are coping with raging heartburn. Seems, GI points are literally fairly frequent throughout being pregnant—issues like morning illness, nausea, and extra gasoline can creep up at any time.

However what occurs if you happen to’re already coping with a pre-existing GI concern, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and get pregnant? Does your situation worsen, or possibly even enhance, when you’re anticipating? And if it does worsen, can you continue to take the identical medicines (or eat the identical meals, train the identical approach, and so forth.) that after helped alleviate your flares?

To study extra in regards to the connection between IBS and being pregnant, we spoke with Karina—a mom of two with IBS—about her expertise managing her situation whereas anticipating. We additionally tapped two specialists for recommendations on managing IBS flares whereas additionally retaining you and your child wholesome and protected.

What’s it prefer to have IBS whereas pregnant?

Navigating IBS throughout being pregnant could be a completely different expertise for every particular person, however for Karina, it was a little bit of a curler coaster trip. The start of Karina’s first being pregnant made her really feel like she was in a relentless IBS flare, together with her diarrhea getting worse by the day.

“After the primary few weeks, I began coping with morning illness, too, which made it very laborious to eat safely,” she says. She may solely abdomen meals that occurred to be IBS triggers, whereas meals traditionally “protected” for her IBS have been inconceivable to even have a look at. (Being pregnant meals aversion is actual, people).

However there got here a lightweight on the finish of the tunnel: On the finish of her first trimester, Karina’s IBS really improved, and even felt nonexistent at instances. By her second and third trimesters, she hardly handled diarrhea. She had occasional bloating, heartburn, and even unhealthy gasoline pains (that despatched her to the hospital to verify the whole lot was okay), however general, she was within the clear.

Attending to that time concerned a variety of modifications to her typical IBS remedy. Many coping abilities she’d acquired have been now thought-about “no-nos” in being pregnant. She could not use a heating pad on her stomach to alleviate IBS cramps, and she or he could not take sure medicines to cease diarrhea. She additionally needed to re-learn which meals prompted (or did not trigger) IBS flares—each throughout and post-pregnancy.

Fortunately, sure habits she had already applied for a wholesome being pregnant helped her IBS. She started taking iron dietary supplements for her iron-deficiency anemia, which causes constipation in some folks, however really helped her cease taking so many journeys to the toilet. She additionally began prenatal yoga, which helped alleviate some GI discomfort like cramping and gasoline.

Managing IBS whereas pregnant helped Karina mitigate some potential dangers to her and her child’s well being. (Extra on this beneath.)

Is there any danger of being pregnant issues from IBS?

“IBS can improve an individual’s danger of dehydration and dietary deficiency throughout being pregnant,” says Keren Kohath, DO, OB/GYN at Pediatrix Medical Group in San Jose, California. This can be the case if an individual has frequent diarrhea or if they’re avoiding many meals that set off their IBS signs. Because of this, it is essential to work together with your physician and/or a registered dietitian well-versed in IBS to assist handle your signs throughout being pregnant.

It is attainable there might also be an elevated danger of sure being pregnant issues with IBS, although the analysis is restricted. There’s one small Could 2021 overview in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Analysis2 that discovered a slight elevated danger of ectopic being pregnant in folks with IBS in comparison with these with out. One other December 2022 examine within the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Drugs, which checked out over 9 million deliveries, concluded IBS was related to elevated danger of preeclampsia, deep venous thrombosis (DVT), and start defects.

Consider: This info is not meant to scare you, and extra analysis is required to fully assist these findings. Most individuals with IBS go on to have completely regular pregnancies, and simply because IBS is related to these outcomes doesn’t imply IBS prompted them.

Both approach, it is essential to convey as much as your OB/GYN whether or not you will have IBS or begin to develop signs. That approach, they’ll monitor you carefully and assist forestall any issues.

Can being pregnant trigger new-onset IBS?

Being pregnant could cause new-onset IBS for a number of causes. “Being pregnant causes important hormonal modifications, together with a rise in progesterone—which might result in constipation,” says Dr. Kohath. She provides that important structural modifications throughout being pregnant, like elevated strain in your gastrointestinal organs, can even contribute to the event of IBS signs.

And it’s not simply the bodily modifications that may trigger IBS-like signs. “Being pregnant and the postpartum interval will be instances of heightened emotional stress and nervousness, that are identified to exacerbate GI signs,” says Sarah Robbins, MD, MSc, gastroenterologist and founding father of Properly Sunday. “Stress can affect the severity and notion of IBS signs as a result of its impact on the gut-brain axis,” she provides.

Some signs to be careful for embrace constipation, diarrhea, or a mixture of each, says Dr. Kohath. Different signs of IBS embrace belly ache and bloating. For those who’re having these signs, Dr. Kohath recommends searching for customized care out of your doctor, as these signs could possibly be associated to a number of causes. Dr. Robbins additionally notes within the context of being pregnant, distinguishing new-onset IBS from typical pregnancy-related GI points will be difficult, as a result of overlap in signs. Your physician may also help you determine the distinction.

“Managing IBS throughout being pregnant includes balancing the necessity to alleviate IBS with weight loss program modifications and making certain you get sufficient vitamins for you and your child.” —Sarah Robbins, MD, gastroenterologist

Easy methods to safely handle IBS whereas pregnant

If in case you have IBS and are planning to get pregnant, you’ll have a variety of questions on how you can safely handle your situation whereas carrying your little one. Fortuitously, there are various efficient administration methods you should use.

Make slight dietary modifications

“Managing IBS throughout being pregnant with weight loss program modifications is a nuanced matter, as a result of it includes balancing the necessity to alleviate IBS with making certain you get sufficient vitamins for you and your child,” says Dr. Robbins. Whereas avoiding set off meals—like these excessive in sure carbohydrates, referred to as FODMAPs—might assist relieve IBS signs, avoiding these meals for too lengthy can result in nutrient deficiencies if not managed fastidiously, she provides.

Relatively than broad dietary restrictions, Dr. Robbins recommends selectively eliminating probably the most symptom-provoking meals. You may determine which of them these are by retaining a meals diary or following a short elimination weight loss program. If you cannot determine which meals are triggering, cease your elimination weight loss program and let your physician know.

With that in thoughts, it is also essential to work together with your physician or a registered dietitian on slowly eliminating sure meals out of your weight loss program, whereas nonetheless assembly your nutrient necessities. For instance, if you happen to’re chopping again on dairy, you might must take a complement to fill nutrient gaps—like calcium or vitamin D.

Get extra fiber

Including extra fiber to your weight loss program is a normal advice for folks with IBS (whether or not they’re pregnant or not), however differing kinds have completely different advantages, in accordance with a March 2021 overview within the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Insoluble fiber, which will be present in issues like wheat bran, fruit, and vegetable skins, helps bulk up and transfer stool via your intestines. Soluble fiber, then again, bulks up stool by pulling water into your GI tract. It may be present in issues like psyllium husk, oats, bananas, and apples with out the pores and skin, per Dr. Robbins.

“Soluble fiber is usually beneficial, particularly in the course of the third trimester when constipation can turn out to be extra pronounced,” she says. “For those who’re growing your fiber consumption, do it slowly to scale back the danger of gasoline and bloating.”

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

As a result of constipation is already a standard being pregnant symptom, Dr. Kohath advises all pregnant folks to remain correctly hydrated to get issues shifting. If in case you have a tough time getting sufficient H2O all through the day, attempt retaining a enjoyable water bottle close by and taking sips at common intervals. You may even obtain an app that may ping you when it is time to drink extra water.

And if you happen to merely do not just like the style of plain ol’ water? Attempt including items of contemporary mint, slices of cucumber, or just a few berries to your glass.

Eat small, frequent meals

For those who really feel IBS signs approaching proper after you eat, you might wish to alter the frequency of your meals. Dr. Kohath recommends consuming small, frequent meals all through the day to keep away from overloading your digestive system. You could discover this additionally retains blood sugar crashes and starvation pangs at bay while you’re pregnant.

Small, frequent meals and snacks might also assist stave off nausea, which is frequent within the first trimester, she provides.

Incorporate stress-management strategies

“Being pregnant could be a worrying time, and stress can exacerbate IBS signs,” says Dr. Robbins. Not solely are you coping with the stressors of on a regular basis life, however you are additionally busy prepping to your child’s arrival, and retaining you and your child as wholesome as attainable.

To ease a few of that stress away, you may attempt issues like prenatal yoga, meditation, deep-breathing workout routines, and mindfulness. All may also help decrease your stress ranges, and presumably enhance your IBS signs, she provides.

Attempt mild train and stretches

There are nonetheless loads of workout routines you are able to do whereas pregnant. In actual fact, they’re inspired for a smoother being pregnant and start. Dr. Robbins recommends mild train like strolling, prenatal yoga, or swimming to assist cut back stress, strengthen your muscle tissues, and regulate bowel actions.

However in fact, discuss together with your OB/GYN earlier than beginning any new train routine throughout being pregnant. You wish to be sure it is a protected and wholesome match.

Ask your physician about pregnancy-safe medicines

Sadly, the security1 of most medicines used to deal with IBS with constipation (IBS-C) throughout being pregnant and breastfeeding, specifically, just isn’t effectively established, says Dr. Robbins. This implies, it is essential to speak to your physician to search out the most secure remedy for you, whereas minimizing dangers to your child.

A low-risk possibility is an osmotic laxative, which pulls water into your bowels, and consists of a few of the following, per Dr. Robbins:

  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG) 3350
  • Magnesium
  • Lactulose

Choices that needs to be prevented (and include elevated danger) embrace the next, per Dr. Robbins:

  • Stimulants like senna
  • Lubricants like castor oil
  • Secretagogues (i.e., insulin-releasing capsules) like linaclotide
  • Prokinetic brokers (which assist stimulate your GI tract) like prucalopride

With IBS-D, issues turn out to be a little bit trickier. “Choosing the proper remedy for IBS-D throughout being pregnant and breastfeeding additionally requires a balanced method to potential dangers and advantages related to every possibility,” says Dr. Robbins. And sadly, lots of the generally used medicines for treating IBS-D are not beneficial throughout being pregnant. This consists of:

  • Loperamide (Imodium)
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol)
  • Sure SSRIs
  • Bile acid sequestrants

In the end, earlier than making an attempt any over-the-counter treatment (or prescription you as soon as used), it is essential to speak to your physician. “They will prescribe or advocate pregnancy-safe medicines for managing signs, like antispasmodics for ache or bulk-forming laxatives for constipation,” says Dr. Robbins.

Get your associate concerned

One other strategy to handle IBS signs whereas pregnant is by getting your associate (or a trusted cherished one) concerned, says Karina. Allow them to know when you find yourself feeling GI points like morning illness, diarrhea, constipation, and so forth. Make an inventory of triggering and protected meals so they’re conscious, and ask for assist buying and prepping meals for the week.

Any such assist will be particularly essential when your signs are too intense to cook dinner or look after your self correctly (which occurred for Karina in these early weeks of being pregnant).

Ask about getting an IBS-friendly meal post-birth

This might not be top-of-mind proper now, however ensuring you will have a meal that is not going to hassle your abdomen after you’ve got given start on the hospital (or birthing heart) is essential. Karina did not let docs and midwives learn about her necessities at her first start, and she or he ended up not having the ability to eat something the hospital supplied for her.

Along with her second being pregnant, she was clear about her dietary wants from the start and was even in a position to discuss with the hospital’s dietitian effectively earlier than start. They have been in a position to get her a meal that was nutritious and IBS-friendly.

Ask about medicines after start

“For my whole first being pregnant, I solely targeted on the being pregnant and giving start half,” says Karina. As soon as she had her child, she did not pay a lot consideration to what was occurring on the hospital, and did not discover that employees have been giving her laxatives.

As somebody with IBS-D, this was a large “no-no,” and it despatched her right into a horrible flare that lasted for weeks. The second time round, she was cautious to inquire about the whole lot she was being given and didn’t get a flare after her second supply.

Backside line: Ask in regards to the medicines being given to you after start, and whether or not or not they will intrude together with your IBS signs.

Contemplate pelvic flooring remedy

Pelvic flooring remedy isn’t just an excellent possibility for strengthening a weak pelvic flooring post-birth. It is also an effective way to assist regulate bowel incontinence—a standard concern for folks with IBS-D. Karina discovered pelvic flooring remedy throughout and after start to be useful in lowering her bowel incontinence points, and she or he recommends it to anybody coping with IBS flares whereas pregnant.

In fact, ask your OB/GYN first about whether or not pelvic flooring remedy is best for you.

When to see a physician

Based on Dr. Robbins, it is fairly frequent to have GI signs throughout being pregnant, particularly as a result of all of the physiological and hormonal modifications occurring in your physique. That stated, distinguishing between regular being pregnant points and IBS requires the experience of a physician. Getting correctly checked out “will be essential to the well being and well-being of each mom and fetus,” she provides.

Discuss to your physician about any modifications in bowel habits you’ve got seen, and search instant medical consideration you probably have any of the next, per Dr. Robbins:

  • Persistent vomiting, which might result in dehydration and malnutrition if not handled
  • Extreme belly ache
  • Adjustments in bowel actions, like extreme or extended constipation or extreme diarrhea lasting greater than 48 hours
  • Blood in stool or vomit
  • Indicators of dehydration, reminiscent of dizziness, extreme thirst, dry mouth, and decreased urine output
  • Unexplained weight reduction
  • Persistent heartburn or indigestion
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the pores and skin or eyes), which might point out liver issues

“It’s all the time greatest to err on the facet of warning and convey up considerations or uncommon signs together with your physician throughout being pregnant,” says Dr. Robbins. “Early intervention can forestall issues and guarantee each maternal and fetal well being all through the being pregnant,” she provides.

If in case you have IBS, it is comprehensible you is likely to be nervous about it getting worse throughout being pregnant. Fortuitously, there are various issues you are able to do to alleviate flares whereas on this treasured stage of life. By barely altering up your routine, working carefully together with your physician, and advocating to your care post-birth, you may lower your possibilities of IBS flares earlier than and after start.


Properly+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, sturdy research to again up the knowledge we share. You may belief us alongside your wellness journey.


  1. Moosavi S, Pimentel M, Wong MS, Rezaie A. Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Being pregnant. Am J Gastroenterol. 2021 Mar 1;116(3):480-490. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001124. PMID: 33481381.

  2. Talavera JIR, Parrill AM, Elsayad C, Fogel J, Riggs JC, Peng B. The affiliation between ectopic being pregnant and inflammatory bowel illness, irritable bowel syndrome, and celiac illness: A scientific overview. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2021 Could;47(5):1601-1609. doi: 10.1111/jog.14705. Epub 2021 Mar 17. PMID: 33733538.

  3. Alnoman A, Badeghiesh AM, Baghlaf HA, Dahan MH. Being pregnant, supply, and neonatal outcomes amongst ladies with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) an analysis of over 9 million deliveries. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2022 Dec;35(25):5935-5942. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2021.1903421. Epub 2021 Apr 6. PMID: 33823718.

  4. Moosavi, Sarvee et al. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Being pregnant.” The American journal of gastroenterology vol. 116,3 (2021): 480-490. doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000001124


Easy methods to Handle the Situation Safely

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