By Neus Ferrando Gilabert BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 03/31/2014

Gastroenteritis is a gastrointestinal infection caused either by the intake of food in bad conditions or by a virus causing stomach inflammation. Symptoms of gastroenteritis may be easily confused with common pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain.

Gastroenteritis does not have to be a serious complication during this gestation period. Some specialists show that common gastroenteritis does not pose a risk for the foetus unless woman has high fever and signs of dehydration.

Gastroenteritis

Symptoms

Gastroenteritis during pregnancy can cause a number of symptoms in the mother such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever

Gastroenteritis during gestational period usually lasts between 24 and 72 hours. We should not let it to continue longer because of the danger of dehydration. It is necessary to go to the doctor, specially, if high fever is observed. At the time it becomes severe, it may have negative consequences for the foetus such as low weight or prematurity.

Some of the symptoms that determine we are faced with a severe gastroenteritis can be:

  • High fever
  • Signs of dehydration: mother does not tolerate even water
  • Appearance of blood or mucus in faeces
  • Not to observe an improvement within 48 hours

Recommendations

Some of the recommendations that should be taken into account if we are faced with a case of gastroenteritis are:

  • Rest
  • Sipping water slowly to avoid dehydration
  • Not taking medicines without medical consent, since the doctor indicates if the treatment is necessary
  • Following a proper diet
  • Going to the doctor if symptoms continue more than 48 hours

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disorder which causes inflammation and destruction of intestinal tissue. There are two types of IBD: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Many women of childbearing age (from ages 15 to 40 approximately) suffer this type of pathology like Crohn’s disease, which requires medication. According to studies, pregnancy does not affect this type of pathology, although the labour planning is recommended. If the woman suffers from this disease, it is recommended to go to the specialist even before deciding to attempt pregnancy, since it can decide to eliminate, to change or to standardise the necessary medication. As a chronic disease, is also related to other non-physical factors like anxiety or stress.

In any case, given that there is a pregnancy you should consult your doctor in order that he gives you guidelines to follow.

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Authors and contributors

 Neus Ferrando Gilabert
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV). Postgraduate Course in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH). Experience managing Embryology and Andrology Labs at Centro Médico Manzanera (Logroño, Spain). More information
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