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Pregnancy may make you extremely cautious and rightly so because you are not only responsible for your health, but you are also nurturing your baby. However, there are certain infections that may still attack you, and one such infection is stomach flu. This may not happen entirely due to your negligence, but it may also occur because of your weakened immune system during pregnancy. Therefore, if stomach flu during pregnancy is your concern, then you should go through the following article. We shall acquaint you with all that you need to know about stomach flu during pregnancy and what all you can do to effectively manage your condition.
Causes of Stomach Flu
Stomach flu or stomach infection in pregnancy is a very common phenomenon, which is also known as gastroenteritis. Stomach flu is an infection of the intestinal lining, and it is usually caused by various kinds of viruses. These viruses usually get transferred from food that is prepared under unhygienic conditions or is not properly cooked.
Symptoms of Stomach Flu
Just to be sure that you are suffering from stomach flu and not from any other stomach ailment; here, we have some stomach flu symptoms, which may help you to establish your condition:
- You may experience a severe headache.
- You may have diarrhoea (loose and watery stools).
- You may have a fever (low-grade).
- Your muscles may feel sore and tender.
- You may experience chills.
- You may feel exhausted and fatigued.
- You may experience dehydration.
Diagnosis of Stomach Flu
Sometimes, it may become difficult to diagnose stomach flu. This is because the symptoms of stomach flu and morning sickness are somewhat similar. This may be more difficult to establish during the early months of pregnancy when you may be battling with morning sickness and nausea. However, if along with the morning sickness, you notice fever, cramps, diarrhoea, or loss of appetite, then you may be suffering from stomach flu.
Apart from the similarity with morning sickness, sometimes stomach flu may be mistaken for food poisoning also. Therefore, seek medical advice and get a thorough check-up done to establish whether or not you have stomach flu.
How to Deal With Stomach Flu During Pregnancy
As soon as you notice any of the stomach flu symptoms, you may do the following to control your symptoms:
1. Eat Right
Your body is battling with an infection, and it needs energy, but you may not feel like eating. However, it is important that you eat a good and nutritious meal to help your body fight the infection. Eat a bland and light meal and refrain from eating spicy and heavy food items as they may further irritate your stomach.
2. Drink Adequate Water
Consuming a good amount of water does wonders when your body is fighting an infection. You may find it difficult to gulp down a glass of water in one go, but you can keep sipping water at regular intervals. You may even eat ice chips if you want. Water will not only help in flushing out the infection, but it will also save you from dehydration. You may also include other fluids to hydrate your body.
3. Get Ample Rest
Your body is already working hard to support your baby, and any kind of infection may make your body work more. This may make you feel tired and exhausted. Therefore, it is very important that you get ample rest. An adequate amount of rest will give your body the required energy to fight the infection.
4. Take Some Probiotics
Stomach flu may kill the good bacteria which are present in your digestive tract. Therefore, in order to replenish your good bacteria, you should consume foods which have good bacteria or probiotics in them, and curd and kefir are some good options that you may choose from.
5. Consume Mint
Consuming mint is a great option to combat stomach flu. Mint has therapeutic properties that help in easing irritable bowel syndrome. You may add mint in your tea or make lemonade with it to control your symptoms of stomach flu.
6. Take Ginger
If you are wondering what to take for stomach flu when pregnant, the answer is ginger, as it is one of the best options to control your symptoms. Ginger is great for digestion, and it is very mild on the stomach too. You may chew on a piece of ginger, make ginger tea or take ginger in any other form you like to cure stomach flu during pregnancy.
7. Take Electrolyte
You may take electrolyte to replenish the lost ionic solution from your body. Stomach flu takes a toll on your stomach and vomiting and diarrhoea may make you lose important ionic solutions from your body. In order to feel energised and regain your lost strength, you can drink a homemade electrolyte solution.
8. Avoid Food and Beverages that May Aggravate Your Condition
It is not only important to eat right, but it is equally important what not to eat when you are suffering from stomach flu. You will need to abstain from eating heavy, fatty and spicy foods. Also, do not consume caffeinated and aerated beverages as they can be harsh on your stomach.
Are Medications for Stomach Flu Safe During Pregnancy?
You may be prescribed antacids, Acetaminophen or Tylenol or gas relievers by your doctor. However, it is not recommended to procure these over-the-counter medicines on your own as it may harm you or your unborn child during pregnancy. Though these medicines are safe to take during pregnancy, it may lead to fatal complications if you take these medicines without a prescription from your doctor.
Can You Prevent Stomach Bugs?
Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, it is best to prevent a disease than cure it. If you are looking for ways to prevent stomach bugs, look no further as here we have some measures that you may use to prevent stomach bugs during pregnancy:
- Eat a well-balanced diet, drink adequate water, and do moderate exercise. In short, stay healthy and keep infections at bay.
- Refrain from consuming cold and stale food that has been sitting in your fridge for a couple of hours. Always eat fresh food.
- Do not eat street food and at unhygienic places. Keep in mind the general rules of food safety.
- You may catch an infection from a person who is already suffering from stomach flu. Thus, stay away from people who have this infection.
- Keep a separate towel for bath and wiping your hands.
- Refrain from cooking when you are unwell. However, if you have to, then follow good hygiene while preparing food and wash your hands thoroughly.
- Clean your hands after petting your pets or after gardening.
- Clean your hands nicely after using the washroom at public places.
- Avoid any food that is emitting a foul smell.
Does Stomach Flu Affect the Foetus?
Stomach flu is a viral infection, and it would not harm the foetus. This is because your body’s defence mechanism is very strong in protecting your baby from such viral infections. Therefore, it is very important that you stay healthy and fit during your pregnancy because even if you catch an infection, your body will fight it and save your baby, too. However, if your body is not strong enough or you are suffering from any other ailments, then stomach flu or Gastroenteritis during pregnancy may become a cause for concern.
When to Call the Doctor
Most cases of stomach bugs during pregnancy usually subside in a couple of days. However, for the following symptoms, you should get in touch with your doctor:
- If you are feeling extremely tired and exhausted.
- If you are not feeling like eating or experiencing a loss of appetite.
- If you have a fever that is 101 degrees or more.
- If you notice that the colour of urine has turned dark yellow from pale yellow, your mouth appears parched, and you experience other signs of dehydration.
- If you are passing stools as soon as you eat something or your stomach is not able to hold food for long.
- If you are unwell for more than 2 days.
If you register any of the above-mentioned symptoms of stomach flu in early pregnancy or later in pregnancy, then you should get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible. As any kind of delays may make your condition worse, and more complications may arise. Get timely help and control your condition for you and your unborn baby’s well-being.