What’s worse than getting the flu you ask? The answer would be getting the same flu when you are pregnant. In addition to causing you a lot of discomfort, the bout of flu would possibly keep you sick for longer periods. Worst of all, your pregnancy would limit your use of medications to treat the issue effectively and you could possibly end up with more serious complications that would warrant a visit to the doctor.
One kind of flu that is common in pregnant women is gastroenteritis. Commonly called as stomach flu, gastroenteritis affects a woman’s digestive tract and causes several digestion related disorders in the body. And even though it does not harm the fetus (the virus remains inside the digestive tract), the infection could cause extreme discomfort and other critical issues for the mother.
Stomach Flu During Pregnancy
Symptoms Of Stomach Flu
Stomach Flu in pregnant women can last for about 10 days and the symptoms of the same can be either mild or severe depending on the kind of virus that caused the infection. Accordingly, some of the more common symptoms of stomach flu in pregnant women include vomiting, diarrhea (watery), nausea, dehydration, abdominal cramps and pain, muscle pain, sudden chills, headaches, fever and extreme fatigue.
How To Deal With Stomach Flu during Pregnancy
Dealing with stomach flu during pregnancy is not that big an issue and can be handled properly with a little care and effort from your end. And here are some ways you can do that.
Check For Signs Of Dehydration
Stomach flu can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting in individuals. And this can cause severe dehydration as well. So be sure to keep a lookout for any signs of dehydration that may appear on the body as the flu progresses.
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Accordingly, certain symptoms like dry mouth, constant thirst, urine inconsistency, lack of urine, dark colored urine, dizziness or fatigue can signal dehydration.
Increase Fluid Intake
The first signs of dehydration would usually spell trouble and need to be taken care of immediately, for severe dehydration could pose risks to the health of the baby inside the womb, with the worst case scenarios being premature delivery or miscarriage.
Drink plenty of water and clear fluids to keep yourself hydrated throughout the illness. Opt for fresh fruit juices and oral rehydration solutions to retain the water content in your body. Stay away from sports and fizzy drinks that do nothing to replenish the lost water, vitamin or mineral content in the body, but just fill your stomach with excess gas (in the case of fizzy drinks and sodas) that could possibly aggravate the condition.
If you suffer from severe vomiting, try sucking on some ice cubes instead. This would prevent you from throwing up the fluids that you intake.
Foods To Avoid
It would take some time for your digestive tract to come back to order after the bout with stomach flu. So avoid taking any solid foods at least for the first few days after the symptoms start showing up.
Avoid foods like caffeine and fatty/fried/spicy products in addition to staying away from dairy products completely. In addition to dehydrating the body (caffeine), these foods can potentially aggravate the symptoms and cause more discomfort and pain to both you and your baby.
Eating Solid Foods
You would need to refrain from eating any solid foods for the first few days of the bout with stomach flu. And as and when you start eating solid foods again, make it a point to reintroduce them slowly to your diet instead of gorging on them.
During the recovery phase, opt for foods that are easy to swallow and digest. These include foods like rice, broth, soup, toast, gelatin, bananas etc. Stop eating any food that makes you feel nauseous and reintroduce it into your diet later on.
When To Visit A Doctor
If the symptoms of stomach flu (mainly dehydration) are severe and you seem to experience very frequent bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, then you would probably need to check with a doctor about the same. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may prescribe a flu shot or an emergency rehydration treatment wherein you would be given fluids via IV.
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