Whether or not you managed suffer morning sickness in your first trimester, getting sick with a stomach bug when you’re pregnant is a pretty miserable experience.

Unfortunately, gastroenteritis (gastro) is quite common in expectant mums with, anecdotally, the majority of mums having it at one point during their nine months.

Fortunately, gastro isn’t usually serious, but it’s normal for parents to worry about how it might impact their unborn baby. The main treatment for gastro in pregnancy – as at any time – is rehydration.

In most cases, treatment of gastroenteritis in pregnancy primarily involves rehydration. A stomach bug might be soothed by oral rehydration, however a short stay in hospital can provide relief in the form of intravenous fluids and possibly an antiemetic to stop the vomiting.

Symptoms of gastro (stomach flu)

Commonly known for causing sickness and diarrhoea, there are several other symptoms to look out for too:

  • fever
  • chills
  • nausea
  • stomach cramping or pain
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • muscle aches

How to cope with symptoms of gastro

Take care gastro in pregnancy by following these tips:

  • Get plenty of rest. Ask family and friends to help if you have other children to wrangle.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – sip, don’t guzzle! A little apple juice in cold water can help get some natural energy into the system. Try electrolyte drinks or icy poles.
  • Snack often. Choose carb-rich, simple foods like plain crackers, dry toast, rice or potato.
  • Pay attention to nausea triggers. Avoid the fridge, if possible.
  • Breathe fresh air. Inhale slowly and try to relax while taking in the clean air.
  • Take care with prenatal vitamins.
  • Rinse your mouth after vomiting.

After your symptoms are gone, replenish your gut bacteria with probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt.

Checking in with your GP or midwife can reassure a mum-to-be who has gastro.

When to call a doctor             

If symptoms last longer than 48 hours, or if you can’t keep anything down, including water, get in touch with your GP, or midwife team.

It’s incredibly rare, but extreme dehydration can be harmful for you and for your baby, so don’t shy away from calling your health care providers if you are at all concerned.

Once you are rehydrated, a GP might do blood tests to rule out food poisoning, bacterial infection (such as listeriosis), appendicitis or premature labour.