Pregnancy And IBS-D: The Good, The Bad And The Unexpected
Throughout my pregnancy, my IBS-D gradually changed. Having a human growing inside one’s body definitely affects the digestive system. And thus, it affects IBS (more than I thought!)
I’m currently halfway through my third trimester and I wanted to share my overall experience with pregnancy and IBS-D. So, if you’re interested, here is a roundup of the good, the bad, and the unexpected!
No more diarrhea
My favorite byproduct of pregnancy has been an insane decrease in diarrhea. As of now, I barely remember the last time my IBS-D flared up in that way! Not only did I stop going to the bathroom multiple times during the morning, but I sometimes don’t have to use the bathroom at all. Except to pee, but that’s a different story.
It’s like my bowels finally behave like those of a normal human being. One could almost forget about IBS-D!
However, I do consider myself lucky that my usual IBS symptoms don’t include constipation. Because if they did, I imagine that it would be so much worse! Constipation is one of the more common pregnancy symptoms, so I guess I’m just lucky that this works well with my IBS-D.
But so much bloating
At this point, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel bloated. At times, I feel like my baby bump consists of 50 percent baby and 50 percent bloating. And this only gets worse as the due date approaches.
Now, I can’t know for sure, but I’m attributing the excessive bloating to 2 things:
The “constipation” (in quotation marks, because I’m not actually constipated)
As someone who is used to going to the bathroom so many times that there can’t possibly be anything left in my bowels, I don’t usually get bloated all that much. I mean, I do, but not like this. Not to the point where I feel like a pregnant whale. I guess that since food actually stays in my digestive systems for once and the baby’s compressing it, this is to be expected.
The foods I’m eating
Food aversions are a real thing – and not just in the first trimester. And then there’s all the stuff you’re not supposed to eat and the nutrients your body needs during pregnancy. The bottom line is, I’ve been eating different (but still somewhat safe) foods than usual. Especially more dairy in order to get enough calcium. Which creates, even more bloating, I guess.
Still needing to go to the bathroom all the time
One might think that without IBS, a person doesn’t need to go to the bathroom all that much. But to me, it got even worse. Being pregnant just makes you need to pee all the time!
So, I still need to find bathrooms everywhere I go. Only this time, I actually have to use them. It’s not just in case.
Going places is more difficult than ever, too. The only good thing is that I don’t get embarrassed about the situation, as I always did with my IBS.
Fatigue, worse than after a flare-up
After IBS flare-ups, I usually feel so exhausted that I can barely make it out of bed. And unfortunately, pregnancy sort of makes me feel the same way. Only that it’s not just some days. It’s all of them.
Some people get a surge of energy in the second trimester. But I kind of didn’t. I mean, it’s better than the first and third trimesters, but I didn’t even get close to my usual energy levels!
Most days, I’m so tired that I barely accomplish 50 percent of the work I used to do before (thankfully, I’m self-employed). Going out is fun for about one hour until I desperately need a break. And don’t get me started on climbing stairs and walking uphill!
I would love to take advantage of my new IBS-free self and do more things. But I just don’t have the energy for that. Well, at least I don’t have flare-ups right now.
The fear of giving birth
As my due date gets closer, I’m getting more and more freaked out by the thought of giving birth. Not because of the pain or anything, but because I’m so scared of having a flare-up during the process. It’s not a rational fear (as I said multiple times, I barely have flare-ups during my pregnancy), but I just can’t help it!
All in all, I’d say that pregnancy has made my IBS-D a lot better. Although I still have some digestive issues, I feel like they’re mostly “normal” symptoms now. I was hoping that my IBS wouldn’t get worse, but I never anticipated that pregnancy would almost make the illness disappear!
All these changes have had a huge impact on my mental state, too. I used to constantly get anxious about getting a flare-up, get so embarrassed when I did… Well, that’s gone. I just don’t know for how long.
Actually, as I’m thinking about it, I’m starting to get anxious about postpartum IBS symptoms. What if they’re the opposite and get so much worse? I’ll keep you posted.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?