Dark stool can make any expecting mother nervous, or if you are the sensitive kind, frighteningly worried! But, hold on! Don’t let the color of your poop darken your day, pun not intended. Here, we learn more about what causes dark stool during pregnancy, and whether it is anything you should be worried about! Read on to learn more:
Important Facts About Dark Stool During Pregnancy:
- Changes in the stool color during pregnancy mostly occur due to the intake of certain medications, supplements or intestinal bleeding.
- Foods that are dark black, blue or green often cause dark stool.
- To diagnose the condition, the doctor studies your medical history, dietary changes and the complete list of medications you consume.
- After the physical inspection, the laboratory examines the stool to look for blood, fat, or infection.
- During pregnancy, the stool appears black because of iron and vitamin supplements.
- As your uterus enlarges, the increased pressure within the pelvis may cause constipation and hemorrhoids. It often leads to internal bleeding and the stool appears dark.
- If the change of coloration is only due to the intake of iron supplements and prenatal vitamins, ask your doctor to make requisite changes accordingly.
- Along with dark stool, if you experience the symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea or fever seek medical assistance immediately (1)
[ Read: Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy ]
Causes Of Dark Stool During Pregnancy:
Pregnancy brings several changes in your health conditions, including the digestive functioning and the stool texture. You can experience dark stools during pregnancy, which may either appear black, greenish or dark red. The expecting mother is more likely to experience several health complications, and dark stool is one of them.
Here are some factors to increase your likelihood of experiencing dark or black stool during pregnancy:
1. Iron Supplements:
- You are at an increased risk of suffering from Anemia, or low red blood cell count in your pregnancy.
- The gynecologist prescribes you to intake the iron supplements, to increase your blood supply.
- Your body cannot absorb some of the typical forms of iron including ferrous sulfate and ferrous gluconate.
- As your body cannot absorb the iron, it makes your stool dark and tarry.
- To avoid dark stools caused due to the intake of iron supplements, you need to intake iron-rich foods.
- Some of the high-iron foods to include in your diet are green leafy vegetables, red meat, and liver.
[ Read: Intake of Iron Tablets During Pregnancy ]
- Certain medication can darken your stool during pregnancy.
- One of the popular over-the-counter medications Pepto-Bismol, prescribed for stomach upsets, often causes dark stool in pregnancy.
- For such reasons, before taking any new over-the-counter medication during pregnancy, consult your gynecologist.
- Dark stool often results from consuming certain foods during pregnancy.
- Some of the foods to induce dark stool during pregnancy are blueberries and licorice.
- The presence of artificial food coloring in some food preparation can also affect your stool color during pregnancy.
- Bleeding that occurs in the upper gastrointestinal tract like the intestines, stomach or esophagus can cause a change in your stool color during pregnancy.
- When the ejected blood gets mixed with your digestive juices, it turns tar-colored or black and makes your stool dark-colored.
- Melena is the condition when you experience dark, tarry, and foul-smelling stool, due to the intestinal bleeding.
- Some of the prime causes of the gastrointestinal tract bleeding include Gastritis, Duodenal ulcer (bleeding stomach), Lack of proper blood supply to the intestines and tearing of the esophagus caused due to violent vomiting.
[ Read: Blood In Stool During Pregnancy ]
5. Health Ailments:
- The chances to suffer from digestive disorders like constipation, hemorrhoids, anal tears and fissures are comparatively higher during pregnancy.
- Lower intake of water and fibrous foods and high potency of the prenatal vitamins often makes you suffer from such digestive ailments in gestation.
- When the blood vessels around the rectal region turn painfully swollen during the last trimester of pregnancy, you face difficulty to pass the stool. The swollen glands start to bleed, and causes black stools during pregnancy.
- The cracks around the delicate skin of the rectum impose anal fissures. The excess strain to pass the hardened stools causes the condition. When these cracks begin to burst, a small amount of blood gets ejected along with the stool and the poop looks darker.
- When the anal fissures turn bigger in size, they may induce small tears around the rectum that start to bleed and your experience dark stool (2).
How To Avoid Dark Stool During Pregnancy?
Follow the effective measures to minimize your chances of experiencing dark brown stool during pregnancy:
1. Eat A High-Fiber Diet:
- Lessen your risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, constipation, and hemorrhoids during pregnancy by consuming vegetables and foods rich in natural fiber.
- You can also add unprocessed wheat bran to your diet, to avoid constipation and dark stool.
2. Drink PlentyOf Water:
- During pregnancy, you need to intake 8 to 12 glasses of water every day, which makes your stool softer.
- Alternatively, you can also include fresh fruit juices and other healthy drinks in your daily diet.
3. Taking Fiber Supplements:
- Ask your doctor to prescribe some of the safe over-the-counter fiber supplement.
- Instead of taking high doses of iron supplements that make your stool darker, you can intake iron naturally in the form of fresh fruits and leafy vegetables.
[ Read: Benefits Of Fiber During Pregnancy ]
4. Avoid Certain Medications:
- Avoid prolonged and excessive usage of anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Naproxen during pregnancy, as it elevates the risk of dark stool.
- Before taking any new over-counter-medications during pregnancy, consult the doctor first.
5. Avoid Smoking Or Taking Drugs:
- During pregnancy, you need to limit your alcohol intake. Excessive consumption of alcohols or illicit drugs irritates the lining of the esophagus and stomach and causes dark stool.
- Smoking increases your risk of peptic ulcers and cancers of the GI tract. Hence, doctor restricts the pregnant mother from smoking.
6. Practice Light Exercises:
- After consulting with your gynecologist, you can get indulged in light exercises like yoga, aerobics, and Pilates during pregnancy.
- Exercising regulates the bowel movements and helps you overcome constipation and hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
- You can include Kegel exercises in your regime, as it tightens the muscles around your rectum and vagina and helps you prepare for the childbirth.
Did you experience dark stool during your pregnancy? What lifestyle changes did you make in your daily regime? Were those measures helpful? Share your story here!
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