Now, now – we know, poop isn’t exactly the most appealing of subjects any of us would look forward to bringing up and talking about in a conversation.
Not only is the subject in and of itself – well – disgusting to say the least, it’s also one that many people are embarrassed to bring up, even if they’re talking about it to their doctor.
However, get used to researching and talking about poop much more frequently now that you’re expecting, especially if you notice that you’re passing green poop while pregnant.
Should I Be Worried If I Pass Green Poop While Pregnant?
The short answer to this question is no, just because you’re passing green poop while pregnant does not always mean that there’s anything health related you should necessarily be panicking about.
What Are The Possible Causes Of Green Poop During Pregnancy?
1) Bacteria And Viruses
Bacteria and viruses that you contract from food or just the environment around you can sometimes lead to passing green poop, and doing as much as you can for prevention purposes is extremely important.
Cook any food you eat thoroughly enough to kill harmful bacteria, wash your hands whenever the need to do so arises, don’t share the same utensils and items that someone else in your household who has a bacterial or viral infection at the time also uses, and so on.
You definitely don’t want to be passing infections around to one another!
2) Eating Green Food
For those of you making sure you eat a healthy and nutritious diet throughout the entirety of your pregnancy, to ensure you meet both your needs for vitamins and minerals and that of your growing baby, hats off to you for doing the right thing and being responsible!
However, even when you’re eating a healthy and nutritious diet, it’s not all “bunnies and rainbows”.
If you’re incorporating green, leafy vegetables into your diet, this might be the reason behind your recent green poop.
Just ask me, I know from first hand experience whenever I eat spinach and broccoli!
This is because these green, leafy vegetables are rich in chlorophyll, a green pigment that’s often responsible for changing the color of your stool to green as well.
And this is not only applicable to food that’s naturally green because of chlorophyll it contains, this is also true for any food that’s green because of artificial color and/or have green food dye.
Whatever you do, do not stop eating healthy and nutritious green vegetables just to avoid passing green poop – doing so would be a shame as it would be denying the baby you’re carrying a lot of what it needs to properly develop.
3) Eating Purple Food
Not only is eating naturally (or artificially) green food a culprit, eating food that’s purple in color is also a common reason as well.
Think purple fruits and vegetables such as grapes and eggplants.
4) Food Poisoning
Green poop often signals food poisoning in pregnant women, which is something you should be very concerned about and seek immediate treatment for because of the risks it puts your baby at.
This is why you should be very picky about what you eat during your pregnancy, what its source is and where you’re eating from if grabbing food outside the house.
Also, be sure to cook any food you prepare yourself thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria – now is definitely not the time to be complacent about this!
5) Iron Intake
Excessive intake of iron often results in green colored poop, regardless of where that source of iron is coming from – be that through supplementation or through food consumed as part of an overall diet.
Excessive intake of iron is often observed in pregnant women who have anemia and are advised to get more iron than they currently are, but end up doing so excessively upon attempting self-treatment and not consulting with a doctor about their condition.
Another very important issue those of you taking prenatal vitamins should know about during pregnancy (you are taking your prenatals, aren’t you?) is that some options contain significantly higher levels of iron than others.
While your body certainly does need higher levels of iron during pregnancy, because it needs to keep up with enough blood production for both you and the baby growing inside of you, it can be quite easy to take in too much iron if not properly tracking intake from all the different sources.
Excessive levels of iron that your body does not end up absorbing gets eliminated in your poop and gives it this green color.
6) Intestinal Problems
Many times, intestinal problems lead to passing green colored stool.
This is most commonly observed in pregnant women who suffer from a condition that affects the large intestine, called irritable bowel syndrome.
Another condition often guilty as well is called Crohn’s disease.
Generally speaking, any bleeding in the intestine caused by such complications results in green colored poop because of the combination of blood with bile.
In other cases, it doesn’t have to be something as problematic as irritable bowel syndrome, it could just be an intestinal infection you have at the time.
Many women increasingly consider taking laxatives while pregnant, especially to help ease digestive problems such as constipation, ones that we’re much more likely to experience when our bodies are going through such drastic changes.
However, it’s best that you do not take laxatives without the proper guidance of a physician at any given point in time of your pregnancy.
Laxatives are known to decrease colon transit time which, in turn, causes green colored poop because of decreased interaction between food consumed and bacteria in the body.
Certain medication you may be taking during pregnancy might be causing you to eliminate green-colored stool as a side effect.
This is especially seen in pregnant women taking antibiotics.
This is just one of the many reasons why it’s very important that you don’t self diagnose and attempt to take any medication on your own during pregnancy, and leave it up to your doctor to guide you instead.
If your green poop problems are caused by antibiotics you’re taking at the time, the last thing you should do is stop the course of treatment prematurely in the hopes that everything will get back to normal again.
If you stop the course of treatment with antibiotics prematurely, whatever infection you’re trying to treat will only come back with double the power and trouble. If it needs to be stopped, your doctor will tell you all the details you’ll need to know to do so while avoiding any future complications down the line.
9) Pregnancy Hormones
Different hormones secreted during pregnancy oftentimes lead to the overproduction of bile in the gallbladder, which is known to give poop a green-ish color.
10) Quickly Passing Through The Intestine
In normal circumstances, any food you eat passes through both your small intestine and your large intestine in a period of time between 18 hours to 36 hours, during which bacteria reacting with it causes it to have a brown color.
The food you eat might just be passing way too quickly through your large intestine, which doesn’t give bacteria enough time to react with it and give it a brown color, resulting in a green color instead.
When Should I Talk To My Doctor?
At any given point in your pregnancy, you should seek a physician’s advice if you continue to eliminate green poop
You should also talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following along with passing green colored stool, as they will be able to run you through any tests necessary to determine whether or not there’s anything that requires medical intervention and supervision.
- Diarrhea (or just very watery stool in general)
- Blood being passed in stool
- Mucous being passed in stool
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Headaches, lightheadedness and/or dizziness
- Yellow skin color
- Yellow eyes color
Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive, and you should also contact your doctor if you notice other unusual symptoms happen at the same time.
What Shade Of Green Are We Talking About Here?
Usually and in most cases, it’s a light shade of green that pregnant women notice in their poop during pregnancy.
Apologies for having to make a food reference here for you to paint a mental image in your head, but it’s best referred to as “olive green poo”.
Should I Be Worried If My Poop Also Has An Unusual Smell?
In addition to your passing green colored stool during pregnancy, you might notice that it has an unusual (and fairly awful) smell to it.
Again, just because your stool has an unusual smell to it doesn’t mean that you have to panic and over-worry about the possibility of something terrible happening to your health, or that of the baby you’re pregnant with.
This could be due to dozens of possible reasons that don’t put your health and well being or that of your baby at risk.
For reassurance purposes, though, always check with your doctor.
When Will I Start To Notice Green Poop During Pregnancy?
Different women are likely to notice that they’re passing green poop during pregnancy at different times, sometimes very far apart from one another.
While one woman might notice this around week 5 of her pregnancy, another might not until week 24 of her pregnancy.
There’s no rule set in stone here.
Keep in mind, though, that not all women pass green poop during their pregnancy. This is the minority we’re talking about here, and not the majority that goes on to deliver perfectly healthy babies without ever noticing changes in the color of their stool.
How Long Will This Last?
How long you’ll be passing green poop during your pregnancy will also differ from one woman to another.
It could be a one-off thing, could last for a couple of days or could last for a few weeks.
Is This An Early Sign Of Labor?
If you were to ask 20 moms that were once in the same spot you are right now about what green poop during pregnancy means, chances are you’re going to get a few telling you it’s a sign of early labor.
This, however, is not generally the case as much as it’s made out to be in some circles.