It’s not polite to talk poop openly. But, let’s face it. Poop happens. And, poop is often a clear indicator of our health. If you are newly pregnant and wondering what green poop, pregnancy poop, and normal poop looks like, you can safely and privately read this article in the comfort of your own home.
But, just a word to the squeamish, we will be talking about the ins and outs of your bowel movements – the color and the texture, as well as all the other unfortunate issues pregnant women deal with in their lower region (like constipation and hemorrhoids). And, trust me, while you may not talk about it in the open, everyone poops.
What Is Normal Exactly?
The experts at the Mayo Clinic explain, “Stool comes in a range of colors. All shades of brown, and even green, are considered normal. […] Stool color is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile — a yellow-green fluid that digests fats — in your stool. As bile pigments travel through your gastrointestinal tract, they are chemically altered by enzymes, changing the pigments from green to brown.”
To put it simply, your poop should be brownish in color with a softer S-shape formation. This is considered normal, healthy stool. However, as I am sure you have noticed, poop changes. This depends on many factors such as what you are eating, drinking, and your overall health.
Is Green Poop a Sign of Pregnancy?
Before you jump to the conclusion that you are pregnant based on your poop color, slow down. Green poop is typically not a sign of pregnancy. However, there are some bowel movement changes that are possible indicators of pregnancy such as bloating and constipation.
Healthline experts say, “Your digestive system slows down during pregnancy. This gives nutrients just enough extra time to absorb into your bloodstream and reach your little one.” So, if you feel constipated, this may be the reason why.
Pregnancy Poop Color: What is Normal and What Isn’t
Green: Usually normal (due to certain foods, food coloring, or iron supplements)
Dark, Blackish: Can be a sign of a problem, but it can also be caused by iron supplements
White: Not normal
Red: If the poop is red from blood in the stool, the blood may either come from hemorrhoids or something occurring in the lower part of your digestive tract
Rather than panic when your poop is an unusual color, try to remember what you ate recently as food greatly influences the color of your bowel movements.
Why Your Poop May Be Green
As you know by now, the main reason your poop may be green is your diet. If you are eating lots of green, leafy vegetables, your poop may be green. Also, if you eat things with green food dyes, you may also have green poop.
But, there are two other reasons your poop may be green that are more specific to pregnancy. Are you taking iron supplements? Prenatal vitamins, for example, have iron. Iron can make your poop green. Since prenatal vitamins are strongly encouraged during pregnancy, it is more common for pregnant moms to have green poop.
Along these same lines, you may be taking laxatives to help with pregnancy-induced constipation. Laxatives will help you have bowel movements, but the frequency and shorter length of time it takes may not allow your feces to turn from green to brown.
Why You Might Have Dark Poop During Pregnancy
It is also fairly common for pregnant women to have dark poop during pregnancy. Like green poop, dark poop can occur because of what you are eating.
Additionally, iron makes your poop a green or dark color. So, when you take prenatal vitamins with iron, it makes sense that your poop will change to a darker color. Additionally,
What You Can Do to Make the Color More “Pleasant”
If the color of your poop is freaking you out even after learning these possible reasons, please contact your healthcare professional. They can evaluate and let you know if there are any issues that you need to be aware of.
However, if your poop is green from your diet or supplements, there are some things to do to make your poop look more normal. For instance, change your diet. While green vegetables are excellent for you, try to eat a balanced diet. You can also consider switching prenatal vitamins.
Let’s Talk Constipation
While having colors in your poop may concern you, at least you are pooping. Many pregnant women deal with other bowel movement issues such as constipation.
According to FitPregnancy, “72 percent of women reported at least one functional bowel disorder (which included: bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome) in the first trimester and 61 percent of women reported at least one functional bowel disorder in the third trimester.” Wow!
Those prenatal vitamins that cause your poop to change color can also cause constipation. Additionally, the pregnancy hormones slow things way down. Add in food cravings, a new diet, and a change to your exercise, and your digestive track has a lot to handle. And, for many women, it handles it slowly.
And the Opposite – Pooping A Lot During Pregnancy
On the opposite end, there are other pregnant women who poop a lot during pregnancy. Diarrhea and irritable bowel system may flare up during pregnancy. Again, like with constipation, the changes in your diet may be one of the causes of these more frequent bowel movements.
Please know there is a difference between frequent bowel movements and diarrhea. If you continuously have diarrhea, you need to contact your doctor as this may be a sign something else is happening. Frequent bowel movements, however, are normal as your diet changes.
How to Deal with Constipation Woes
Many women deal with constipation during pregnancy, and there are many ways to help things moving at a better pace.
The experts at Kids Health suggest, “The best way to combat constipation and hemorrhoids is to prevent them. Eating a fiber-rich diet, drinking plenty of fluids daily, and exercising regularly can help keep bowel movements regular. Stool softeners (not laxatives) may also help.”
What About Hemorrhoids?
Unfortunately, weird poop colors and constipation are not the only pregnancy-related lower body issues you may deal with. Hemorrhoids come along with the constipation, and they are no fun at all. They are painful, uncomfortable, and may itch or even bleed.
According to Kids Health, “Hemorrhoids — varicose veins in the rectum — are common during pregnancy as well. Because your blood volume has increased and your uterus puts pressure on your pelvis, the veins in your rectum may enlarge into grape-like clusters.”
There are over the counter treatments for hemorrhoids, but during pregnancy, it is best to speak with your doctor for a prescription for a safe cream to help shrink them. While it may be an embarrassing conversation, it is far more common than you think.
Do You Feel Cramping During a Bowel Movement?
Again, constipation causes all sorts of other issues. For instance, you may have “poop cramps” during pregnancy if you are dealing constipation. The slowdown of your digestive track and subsequent constipation may cause you to feel some cramping. If you feel relief after passing gas or having a bowel movement, then these are normal cramps from your pregnant digestive system.
When You Should Be Worried
While I have hopefully relieved most of your poop fears, there are some issues that are cause for concern. If you have continuous diarrhea, bleeding, severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness, you need to seek help. Remember to drink fluids to avoid dehydration as well.
Furthermore, if you do notice your poop is white or has blood in it, you need to speak with your doctor. In these cases, you may be asked to bring a stool sample.
Preparing for the Future: Baby Poop Talk
While you may be new to poop talk, you might as well get used to it. As a new mom, you spend endless amounts of time analyzing your baby’s poop. You will take notice of how your little one’s poop color changes from the newborn stage to when more solid poop forms. You will also learn that breastfed babies poop a more yellow color than their formula fed peers. Poop matters. And buy a diaper pail!
To Wrap Up
Congratulations on your upcoming arrival! If you are worried about how your poop has change during pregnancy, I hope this article has given you some relief. While you may feel uncomfortable talking about green poop, constipation, or hemorrhoids openly, rest assured that you are not alone. Poop changes during pregnancy!
If you still feel concerned that something is not right, please seek help from your healthcare provider. It is better to ask for help, then to worry without answers.