IBS Symptoms During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman experiences certain changes in her body with increased constipation or frequent diarrhea-causing IBS (A chronic bowel condition) which may worsen due to changing hormone levels.

What is IBS?

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a digestive disorder with constant cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Women are more likely to have this syndrome than men, but people of all age group can get it.


The causes of this condition are unknown though many experts blame neurotransmitters in the gastrointestinal tract or bacterial infection to be the factors causing the disorder. Some people get affected by consuming certain foods while others may get affected due to:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Skipping meals
  • Eating spicy or oily foods
  • Induced anxiety
  • Intake of caffeine, alcohol, etc
  • Increased stress
  • The pressure of the growing baby
  • Taking iron tablets during pregnancy causing constipation


  • Diarrhea for 3 or more days
  • Bloating or gas
  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • In the first trimester, women may experience acidity and heartburn

These symptoms can indicate the number of digestive issues but not only this syndrome.

How common is it?

More than 80% of women in the U.S suffer from this disorder as per the American college of gastroenterology.

IBS & early pregnancy

Many changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy the bowel function causes constipation and heartburn. Changes in the hormone levels like estrogen and progesterone can result in IBS.

Dietary Factors

Take prenatal vitamins and eat a balanced diet to provide nutrients the baby needs which in turn limits the amount of diarrhea. If the doctor examines nutritional toxicity with a dietary evaluation and a blood test, then it might be the symptom.

How will it Affect my Baby?

It causes diarrhea resulting in dehydration which is not good for a pregnant woman. It may lead to preterm deliveries with several health complications for the mother including ectopic pregnancy and miscarriages.

Risks Involved

IBS does not have a negative effect on pregnancy, but according to some studies women with this disorder are at a high risk of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, therefore, you should consult the doctor soon.

How Does IBS Affect Pregnancy?

It can cause severe complications like preterm labor due to diarrhea resulting in dehydration, constipation leading to rectal bleeding or even hemorrhoids, pelvic pain and miscarriage. However, there is no proof of it affecting the baby nor the fertility of a woman.

How Is IBS Affected by Pregnancy?

It may get critical due to changing hormones which cause nausea, constipation, gas, bloating, heartburn or acidity in a woman. The intestines and digestive tract presses because of the pressure of the growing baby resulting in improper bowel function.


There are no known tests for this condition, but the doctors rely on the symptoms to know the cause. Some tests that can diagnose the condition are:

  • Blood tests to test anemia, tissue damage or any celiac disease
  • Fecal occult blood to check the presence of blood in the stool
  • Coloscopy to look into the inner lining of the large intestine

Controlling IBS During Pregnancy

IBS symptoms worsen if there is no proper control or due to presence of the following severe symptoms:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Constant changes in the hormones
  • Increased anxiety
  • Pressure by your baby on the walls of your bowels

Changing lifestyle like adding whole grain foods to your diet can cure IBS in no less time. Avoid common trigger foods like beans, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage which may cause constipation. A woman should avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, eating fried foods to prevent IBS.


  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol
  • Eat regular meals
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Add more fiber to your diet to decrease constipation
  • Practice some mild pregnancy-related exercises
  • Avoid foods triggering this disorder
  • Eat food rich in iron
  • Quit smoking
  • Try meditation or yoga
  • Avoid any herbal supplements or OTC medication

ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes

  • ICD-9 code is 564.1
  • ICD-10 code is K58.9


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