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Stomach Flu During Pregnancy
by Donna Harvel Balo ARNP, CNM, MS
Q.Last night I had really bad diarrhea all night and in order to make it better, I tried to have liquids twice last night and both times I ended up throwing up a lot. The booklet that I was given at the hospital said to take emetrol for nausea so that's what I took because I wanted to be able to keep some liquids down. Now I just feel a little nauseated and I was finally able to keep some food down. The only thing that I'm worried about is my baby, so I was wondering if this is doing any harm to my baby at all. I'm 13 weeks pregnant and I tried to call the hospital but the person that answered the phone said, "Everybody in the world has diarrhea and vomiting, it's probably just a stomach virus, and we can't do anything about it right now, so let it be." You can imagine how upset I am for getting this type of answer.
A. Babies are protected quite nicely from the common ailments that affect moms, such as the common flu. While the attitude of the person you talked to was a shame, the sentiment was actually quite right.
If it is the flu, or a virus, generally it is recommended to let it run its course for 48 hours. That means no meds to stop the process during that time period. I also recommend not having anything to eat or drink for at least two hours after each episode. If you put something in your tummy too quickly, it will just aggravate the situation and cause more vomiting & diarrhea.
So, after 2 hours, take a tablespoon of gingerale, sprite, something like that, every 15 minutes for an hour (no matter how hungry or thirsty you feel, don't have more!). If you are able to tolerate that, then take little sips, every 15 minutes for an hour. It that goes well, then have a little shot glass size, every 15 minutes for an hour. If you are able to tolerate the fluids, then begin nibbling on white crackers, white rice, white bread, broth etc. Once that is tolerated well, gradually add your regular foods. If at any point, the vomiting or diarrhea starts up again, start the whole process over!
If you feel up to it, soaking in a bathtub helps your body absorb fluids.
These are just general guidelines and of course you need to check with your provider. If at any point you feel dehydrated or worse, of course you will seek medical help.
It is normal to worry about the baby, but those little ones seem to be able to tolerate these things quite well.
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