Early pregnancy is an absolute joy. The nausea, the cravings, the bladder that's somehow shrunk to the size of a hamster — but no one told you about the other tummy trouble you may experience: diarrhea. Can diarrhea be a symptom of early pregnancy, or should you maybe have skipped that macaroni salad at the picnic?
I'm prone to an irritable digestion. I can't have dairy, sugar hates me, and if I eat too many Brussels sprouts, I begin to question my major life choices, so I wasn't really paying attention as much as I should have to my bathroom habits when I was trying to conceive. Because, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology, diarrhea may in fact be a symptom of early pregnancy. I just assumed my body was revolting against me as it is wont to do. Maybe not.
Why are you likely to get diarrhea early in pregnancy? According to the American Pregnancy Association, blame it on your hormones. Yep, the same things that gave you acne as a teen can send you running for the bathroom when you're pregnant. The hormonal upset shifts your body, perhaps causing new sensitivities to food, or your life in general, leading to diarrhea.
It can be as confusing as your kids leaving their toys to watch other kids play with toys on YouTube, because many women, myself included, are prone to getting diarrhea before or during their period for the same reason, according to Columbia University's Go Ask Alice.
It's all the prostaglandins' fault, according to Columbia. They stimulate the uterus to contract, which can also stimulate the bowels to do the same. This is why diarrhea is more often associated with oncoming labor than new pregnancy, because it is so much more common to have diarrhea in the third trimester than the first.
But can diarrhea be a symptom of early pregnancy as well? According to Livestrong, it can absolutely be a sign of pregnancy, but it's just as likely to be from any number of other sources, including virus or general food sensitivity. However, if you are trying to conceive, now may be a good time to evaluate any other subtle symptoms you may not be noticing or take a test. It's also a good time to chug Gatorade and scour the web for signs of early pregnancy. Good news — you've probably already done one of those things, and the other may make you feel even better.