Stomach flu can hit anyone: children, adults, and pregnant women as well. But the point is that stomach flu during pregnancy is more dangerous than during any other period in the woman’s life. You can catch the stomach flu virus anywhere: through contaminated water, substandard food, unwashed hands, and directly from a sick person. And during pregnancy, you should be especially careful to prevent stomach flu. Let’s analyze the reasons for stomach flu during pregnancy in detail and find out what you can do to avoid this disease!
The causes of stomach flu during pregnancy
Various rotaviruses cause stomach flu. There are 9 of them altogether, and 5 can affect the human body. The reason for stomach flu during pregnancy is most often rotavirus A but, at the same time, a pregnant woman can catch rotaviruses B and C as well. The disease is usually transmitted by the contact-domestic way. The main causes of stomach flu during pregnancy are:
- infection caught from another person
- infection through poorly processed food and water
- violation of hand hygiene rules
And as the pregnant woman’s organism is weakened, the infections easily get into it. So, especially the pregnant are at risk of this disease.
The symptoms of stomach flu
The point is that stomach flu during pregnancy has symptoms similar to morning sickness because stomach flu is also usually accompanied by nausea. However, it is possible to recognize the disease by some of its characteristic features. They are:
- Acute onset of the disease lasting up to 7 days
- Sudden fever and diarrhea
- Stomachache of different intensity
- Sneezing, cough, runny nose
- General weakness, loss of appetite, paleness, dizziness
The first signs of stomach flu appear 3-4 days after the infection got into the body. Sometimes the disease proceeds in a latent form: you can notice just general malaise but no other symptoms.
The diagnostics of stomach flu during pregnancy
Actually, it’s quite easy to diagnose stomach flu, but the task becomes more complicated if we speak about a pregnant woman. You can confuse this disease with severe morning sickness if the symptoms appear in the first trimester. But it’s easier to identify stomach flu during the final stages of pregnancy. Making out a diagnosis, the doctor takes into account:
- complaints of a pregnant woman
- examination results
- test results
A doctor can also conduct differential diagnostics. It helps a lot to decide on an exact diagnosis and not to confuse stomach flu with some other disease which has similar symptoms.
Stomach flu during pregnancy isn’t dangerous for your baby, as it affects only the future mum’s intestine. But complications can occur because of the disregard for the symptoms (for example, when a pregnant woman confuses them with morning sickness) and an uncontrolled use of medications. The stomach flu is dangerous because it causes dehydration. Sometimes it can also cause:
- pregnancy termination
- premature birth
Such characteristic symptoms as diarrhea and nausea also provoke the lack of vitamins in the future mum’s organism, and the fetus doesn’t get enough nutrients as well.
What can you do?
Stomach flu is usually treated at home, but if the complications have taken place – in the hospital. If a future mum has recognized stomach flu, in order to relieve the symptoms at home, she should:
- stay in bed
- take lots of fluids (water, fruit drinks)
- keep to a diet and exclude fat, salt, sugar, milk, and fried food
You should also have a separate set of dishes. Remember that it’s necessary to wash all the dishes very thoroughly. And don’t self-medicate! An uncontrolled drug treatment is particularly dangerous during pregnancy as it can harm your child. If you’ve noticed some of the symptoms of stomach flu, consult a doctor and follow their recommendations.
What can a doctor do?
A doctor gives you general recommendations concerning the diet and prescribes medications. In the case of stomach flu during pregnancy, a doctor can prescribe the following medicines:
- antipyretic if a pregnant woman has a fever
- astringent and absorbent to eliminate diarrhea
- enzyme preparations to promote digestion
- lactobacilli preparations because they help to restore healthy intestinal microflora
You don’t need to take antibiotics in the case of stomach flu. And if you follow the course of treatment appointed by a doctor, the symptoms will fade on the third day of treatment.
Stomach flu prevention
Of course, it’s very important to follow the preventive measures which help you to avoid stomach flu (especially during pregnancy). These rules are quite simple:
- Follow the hand hygiene
- Thoroughly wash your hands before eating and after visiting public places
- Necessarily wash all the fruit and vegetables. Select a separate cutting board for raw meat.
- Don’t drink tap water
- Regularly do wet cleaning at home
- Make sure that you eat only qualitative food
Just follow these recommendations and stomach flu during pregnancy won’t pose any threat to you!