If you’re already expecting, you may be only too painfully aware that pregnancy can have you feeling a tad spewy. Getting a side order of gastro or food poisoning when pregnant is just adding insult to injury.
We all try our best to stay fit and well but, especially if you already have small children in your house, illnesses are inevitable. Here are some of our best tips for surviving a bout of gastro when pregnant.
1. Hydration is key
Dehydration is always a big concern with any kind of tummy bug. This becomes even more important while pregnant because your body needs more water than usual to care for your growing baby. Plain water is always a great option, but if it helps to make you feel better you can also try sipping some fruit juice, or a fizzy drink such as lemonade or ginger ale.
If you’re really concerned that you’re becoming quite dehydrated and are struggling to keep anything down, it’s definitely worth considering a pregnancy-safe, oral rehydration solution like Hydralite.
If you begin to find that you can’t keep any fluids down at all, you should go and see your doctor, or make a trip to the emergency room. You may need to have special saline fluids injected into your body via an IV until your vomiting passes. Signs of severe dehydration to watch out for include: dark or no urine output, dizziness, fatigue, fast breathing and heart rate and feeling confused.
2. Bland food is your friend
Generally speaking, when most people have gastro, they don’t feel like eating much at all, even while pregnant. Your hungry little one may have your body feeling fairly unimpressed at the idea of no food at all, though. If you feel like you need to eat, there’s no real reason that you shouldn’t try to put something in your stomach. It may help you feel better overall, even if you do find you vomit again later on.
Just think back to your days of morning sickness and try to keep the food relatively bland. Focus on things like crackers, dry toast, or maybe a banana. You may find you need to eat fairly simple foods for a few days after being ill. That’s ok too, just eat what you can, and slowly work your way back to a normal diet as you feel ready.
3. Rest as much as you can
Now is not the time to worry about your to-do list. Put your feet up on the couch, or get some rest in bed. Not only will this help you recover quickly, but it will also prevent you from putting others at risk if your bug is contagious.
4. Don’t worry about your baby
Your beautiful bubba is probably blissfully unaware of the fact that you’re unwell. They’re still happy and comfortable, and getting everything that they need from your body. The only time a doctor would be concerned about your baby is if you become seriously dehydrated, or if there’s a possibility you may have contracted listeria.
5. Don’t self-medicate
You may have a stash of anti-nausea or diarrhea tablets in your bathroom but fight the urge to use them. Many over-the-counter medications are not considered safe during pregnancy so it is always best to seek medical advice before taking anything new for gastro.
6. Let the clean-up begin
It’s really important to remember that some strains of gastro can reinfect you again and again. Housework is probably the last thing you want to think about right now, but it’s also vital to disinfect any surfaces you’ve come into contact with.
Gross fact – some forms of gastro can live on surfaces for up to two weeks. YUCK! That is definitely a house guest you will want to get rid of sooner rather than later.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If your partner is able to, get them to take a couple of days off from work. They’ll be able to help you with the cleanup and disinfecting afterwards. Obviously, if you already have children, you’ll need a hand with looking after them too.
Try to keep things within your family unit as much as possible though – whilst your mum may be only too pleased to help out, it’s probably safest to keep others out of your home where possible until you can be sure that the threat of further infection has passed.
8. Prevention is better than cure
You’re unfortunately never going to be able to dodge every illness out there, but there are ways you can reduce your risk. Handwashing is your best defence against the dreaded gastro. Make sure you try to remember to wash your hands every time you’re about to eat something. You’ll also probably want to be particularly vigilant in places like public toilets and shopping centres.
If you have kids in school or daycare, education facilities are usually pretty good at getting on top of gastro outbreaks quickly. If you receive notification of an outbreak and your child’s school or daycare centre, it might be worthwhile keeping them home for a couple of days until the risk passes.
With regards to food poisoning, always be mindful of how you, and others, are preparing your meals. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with Australia’s pregnancy safe food guidelines.
9. It’ll be awful but it won’t last long
Anyone who’s ever had gastro when pregnant will tell you it’s going to be the longest 24 hours of your life, and we’re not going to lie, it will probably feel that way. But, it shouldn’t last too much longer than that. If you’ve managed to tough your way through many weeks of morning sickness, you can definitely manage this!
If however, you find that your symptoms are extending past the 48-hour mark, it’s definitely time to get in touch with your doctor.
10. Check in with your pregnancy health care team
Whilst a case of gastro during pregnancy is not usually dangerous for your baby, it can take a lot out of your body. It never hurts to touch base with your midwife or obstetrician to just let them know that you’ve been unwell. They may want to bring you in for a quick check-up and might have a few handy tricks of their own to get you ship-shape as soon as possible.
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