Is It Normal To Have Green Poop During Pregnancy?

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Pregnant women may feel anxious about anything that happens out of usual. For instance, green poop during pregnancy may cause concern. A change in the stool’s color may occur due to various physiological changes in pregnancy. Some other reasons may include conditions not related to pregnancy.

Read this post to know about the causes, management, and signs indicating you should consult a doctor if you have green poop in pregnancy.

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:

General causes

  • 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.

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.

Medical causes

  • Celiac disease: Celiac disease 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.

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
  • Constipation
  • 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.

A change in poop color to green does not occur in all women and is not a major cause of concern. Green poop during pregnancy could be caused by something as simple as eating too many green leafy vegetables, iron-rich food, antibiotics, or foods containing green food color. However, in rare cases, certain severe medical conditions, including IBS, celiac disease, or infections, could also be the underlying cause. So, if the change in poop color persists and is accompanied by other serious symptoms such as constipation, headache, diarrhea, or fever, see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Do you have any experiences to share? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

Key Pointers

  • Green poop during pregnancy is a concern when accompanied by symptoms, such as diarrhea or abdominal discomfort.
  • Generally, green poop occurs due to dietary changes and medications.
  • However, it may also occur due to underlying conditions, such as viral gastroenteritis and celiac disease.
  • Depending on the cause, green poop can last for a few days to weeks.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Comprehensive Stool Analysis; Doctor’s Data, Inc (1999-2017)
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. Anemia in Pregnancy; University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester
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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Rebecca Malachi

Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She did her graduation in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). She has been into health and... more

Dr. Burcu Saygan Karamürsel

(MD)
Burcu Saygan Karamürsel is a board certified obstetrics - gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine specialist working in Ankara,Turkey. A graduate from Hacettepe University Medical School, she has also attended a fellowship programme at Bonn University Hospital, Perinatology Department. Currently, she runs her own private clinic in Ankara and contributes to several newspapers’ online health columns and websites. She is specialized in... more

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