Although the normal color of fecal matter is light brown, you may sometimes see green poop during pregnancy, enough to make you uneasy. While that could be due to a variety of physiological changes during pregnancy, it could also be due to other reasons not related to pregnancy. Read this MomJunction post to know what could be causing it and how you could deal with it.
Is It Normal To Have Green Poop/Stool During Pregnancy?
It is likely that you could pass a green stool during pregnancy. Though it sounds a bit gross, there is nothing to worry about it. Your stools contain many things, such as water, indigestible fiber, protein, fat, cholesterol, intestinal mucus, and bacteria (1). As pregnancy causes alterations in the digestion process, you may notice changes in stool color too.
What Causes Green Poop During Pregnancy?
One reason could be that the food has passed quickly through the digestive system, not giving enough time for the bile to break it down completely. This might give a green color to the poop as the microbes did not have enough time to change the bile and feces to brown (2). Green poop could also be due to:
- Green foods: Consuming lots of green vegetables is a part of a healthy pregnancy diet. The green pigment, chlorophyll, found in these vegetables could give it a green color. Also, foods that have green dye or added green color may result in green poop (3).
- Purple foods: Foods such as grapes and eggplant may also cause a change in poop color. Purple gets in contact with bile juices and turns into another color.
- Laxatives: If you are on laxatives for constipation, there are chances that the stool might turn green as the food passes quickly through the digestive system. There will be little time for the bacteria and bile to act on the food, making the poop green.
- Iron-rich foods or supplements: You may be taking more of iron-rich foods and supplements to stay away from anemia during pregnancy. Any excess or unused iron could make the stool look green or even very dark colored (4).
- Antibiotics: To boost your immune levels, your doctor might suggest some medications for regulating your health. They could also cause green pee or poop during pregnancy.
[ Read: Dark Stool During Pregnancy ]
The above is the benign list of causes for green poop. A few medical conditions may also lead to unusual changes in the appearance of the poop, which could include a change in the color of stool to green.
- Celiac disease: This is an autoimmune disease that may develop when gluten (a protein present in wheat, barley, and rye) causes immune reactions. It could lead to inflammation of the small intestine, thereby hindering nutrient absorption (5).
- Pseudomembranous colitis: It is an inflammatory condition of the colon due to overgrowth of the bacteria clostridium difficile (or C. Diff. Colitis) that throws everything off balance. It could be a result of taking certain antibiotics and medications (6).
- Giardia: It is an intestinal parasitic infection that you could contract by consuming contaminated water and food. In most cases, it clears on its own, and in some severe cases, you might need antibiotics (7).
- Irritable bowel syndrome: Here, the muscles that help the food move through the large intestine either contract actively or for a longer time. It, therefore, might cause gas, diarrhea, and bloating, which could change the appearance of the poop (8).
- Crohn’s disease: This condition might affect a small part of the intestine and colon, thereby changing the digestion process (9).
- Ulcerative colitis: It is a bowel disorder that affects the inner lining of the colon and rectum, and may cause inflammation and ulcers in the tract, leading to digestive issues and abdominal cramps (10).
- E.coli: Found in feces of humans and animals, this bacterium spreads when you consume contaminated food and water. Undercooked meat could also be a source of this bacteria. Consuming such foods could lead to abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
- Salmonella food poisoning: Another bacterium, salmonella, is contracted through contaminated food and water and could cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps. It also spreads through the consumption of undercooked poultry meat.
- Viral gastroenteritis: Also called stomach flu, it is spread through the consumption of contaminated food or water or sharing of food, utensil, or towels with the infected person (11).
What Can You Do About Green Poop During Pregnancy?
There is no need to worry or get hysterical about a change in the stool color. More often, it is because of dietary changes, medicines, and hygiene.
- If you are sure that it is due to the dietary changes you made, it is not a matter of concern.
- If you are on antibiotics, talk to your doctor and change the dosage or medicine if necessary.
- Maintain hygiene by washing hands before eating and after using the washroom. Also, wash and cook all the food thoroughly to stay away from bacterial and viral infections.
- Last but not least, eat food on time and have a balanced diet for optimal functioning of the digestive system.
[ Read: Blood In Stool During Pregnancy ]
How Long Will It Last?
Green poop, in general, could last for a couple of days to a few weeks. It differs from woman to woman and might also depend on the causes.
Should You Worry If Your Poop Has An Unusual Smell?
Usually, there is no need to worry and panic about the unusual smell that accompanies green stools.
When Should You Talk To A Doctor?
You may ignore the change in poop color as long as it is not frequent and accompanied by other severe symptoms. But seek medical help if you experience the following symptoms while passing green poop.
- Diarrhea or watery stools
- Blood or mucus in the stools
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Headaches, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- Abdominal discomfort
- Yellow skin and yellow eyes
Note that this is not an exhaustive list of symptoms, and you should see a doctor if you notice any other unusual signs.
Not all women notice a change in poop color during their pregnancy. But don’t worry if you do. It could be due to a simple reason as eating too many green leafy veggies or something with green food color. If you’re still concerned, talk to the doctor.
[ Read: Nausea And Vomiting During Pregnancy ]
Do you have any experiences to share? Tell us about them in the comments section below.
2. Tina Comston; Why is my poop green; BuckMD Blog; The Ohio State University
3. Scott LaFee; End Results: What color is your poop and other pressing fecal matters; UC San Diego (2018)
4. Iron-Deficiency Anemia; Cardio Smart America College of Cardiology
5. Celiac disease; Harvard Health Publishing (2019)
6. Begoña Martinez de Tejada; Antibiotic Use and Misuse during Pregnancy and Delivery: Benefits and Risks; International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2014)
7. Giardiasis; Harvard Health Publishing (2016)
8. Women and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders
9. Cimpoca BA et al.; Managing Crohn’s Disease during Pregnancy; Maedica (Buchar) (2016)
10. Ulcerative Colitis; Cedars-Sinai
11. Infections and Intoxications of the Intestines; A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
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