Diarrhea in Pregnancy – Safe and Non-Safe Diagnostic and Treatment

Causes of Diarrhea in Pregnancy

Causes of diarrhea in pregnant women are pretty much the same as in other populations and so is the treatment (1). Some women experience diarrhea, nausea or vomiting just before the labor starts (2).

FOODS TO AVOID in Pregnancy

Pregnant women should avoid risk of food poisoning from:

  • Salads in restaurants
  • Fast food
  • Soft cheeses
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood


The following investigations to find a cause of diarrhea during pregnancy are generally safe:

  • Stool tests
  • Rectal examination
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • MRI of abdomen
  • Upper endoscopy
  • ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography) – when therapeutic intervention is expected
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Colonoscopy should be reserved for intestinal bleeding and other urgent situations.


The following diagnostic should be avoided in pregnancy:

  • X-ray and CT of any kind
  • HIDA scan

SAFE DRUGS in Pregnancy

The following anti-diarrheal drugs are generally safe to use in pregnacy:

  • Loperamide
  • Antibiotics: penicillin, cephalosporins, erythromycin, metronidazole (Flagyl)
  • Rehydration solutions, like Pedialyte and Gatorade
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Local anesthetic Lidocaine and sedative Meperidine.


  • Bismuth salicylate (Pepto-Bismol) was connected with decreased birth weight and neonatal hemorrhage (3);
  • Cholestyramine
  • Antibiotics streptomycin, quinolones, and tetracycline
  • Inducing vomiting

Related Articles:


  1. Pregnancy and diarrhea  (acg.gi.org)
  2. Diarrhea before childbirth  (childbirth.org)
  3. Pepto Bismol increases risk of neonatal hemorrhage  (drugs.com)
About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
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  • Your post about Safe and Non-Safe Drugs in pregnancy is extremely informative, and recommend that women preparing to conceive visit the doctor to talk about everything from diet to genetic risk factors. For women with a chronic illness, such as psoriasis, prepregnancy is a perfect time to talk about treatments that will be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.