Pregnancy and Stomach Flu
Women may wonder if there are special concerns regarding pregnancy and stomach flu. While the symptoms are the same for pregnant and non-pregnant women, a pregnant woman needs to make sure that she stays well hydrated; the biggest concern involving pregnancy and stomach flu is the risk for severe dehydration, which can affect the baby. By drinking fluids, such as oral rehydration fluids (ORF), juice, or water, pregnant women with stomach flu can reduce their chances of becoming dehydrated.
Pregnant women are just as susceptible to becoming infected with the stomach flu (the medical term is viral gastroenteritis) as non-pregnant women.
The cause of stomach flu is an infection with a stomach flu virus (see Types of Stomach Flu Viruses). Technically, the term "stomach flu" is not correct. This is because the so-called stomach flu is not caused by the influenza virus, nor does it infect the stomach. Instead, stomach flu viruses infect the small intestine.
The cause of stomach flu is not bacteria (such as Salmonella or Escherichia coli), parasites (such as Giardia), medications, or other medical conditions, although the symptoms may be similar.
Similar to stomach flu in non-pregnant women, symptoms of stomach flu in pregnant women can include:
- Watery diarrhea
- Abdominal cramping ("stomach ache")
- Abdominal pain
Other stomach flu symptoms can include:
- Muscle aches
- General sense of tiredness.
Stomach flu symptoms in pregnant women can last anywhere from 1 to 10 days, depending on which virus a woman is infected with. Stomach flu symptoms can be mild to severe.