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Is your poop different in early pregnancy?

Pregnancy brings about many changes in a woman’s body. One of those changes that is not often talked about is changes in bowel movements and poop consistency.

In the early stages of pregnancy, between 6 and 12 weeks, it is common for women to notice differences in their pooping patterns. Some women may experience constipation and harder stools while others deal with loose stools or diarrhea. There can be many reasons for these changes.

What causes poop changes in early pregnancy?

Here are some of the main factors that lead to poop changes in the first trimester of pregnancy:

  • Hormonal changes – Rising levels of progesterone relax smooth muscles, slowing down digestion. This allows more water to be absorbed from food waste, leading to harder, dryer stools.
  • Iron supplements – Prenatal vitamins with iron can cause constipation. The iron slows down digestion.
  • Extra blood flow – More blood flows to the uterus and breasts, diverting it from the digestive system and causing things to slow down.
  • Morning sickness – Vomiting and nausea make it difficult to stay hydrated and disrupt regular bowel movements.
  • Dietary changes – Cravings, aversions, and changes in eating habits influence poop consistency.

When does poop change in pregnancy?

For most women, poop changes tend to show up somewhere between 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy. This is when hormone levels rise rapidly and physical changes start happening quickly. By the end of the first trimester, the body has usually adjusted to the hormonal changes and bowel movements may stabilize and become more regular again.

Here is an overview of when pregnancy poop changes are most common:

Weeks pregnant Poop changes
6-8 weeks Onset of constipation or diarrhea from hormone changes
8-10 weeks Height of issues with constipation or loose stools
10-12 weeks Bowel movements start normalizing again

Early pregnancy constipation

Constipation refers to fewer than three bowel movements per week or stools that are hard to pass. In the first trimester, constipation is more common than diarrhea. Let’s look at why it happens and tips to deal with it:


  • Progesterone slows down the muscular contractions that move food through the intestines.
  • The uterus expands, putting pressure on the rectum.
  • Iron supplements cause stools to become hard and dry.
  • Dehydration from morning sickness makes poop harder.

Managing constipation

  • Drink plenty of water – Try for eight 8-oz glasses daily.
  • Eat high fiber foods – Bran, fruits, vegetables, whole grains.
  • Exercise regularly – This stimulates the digestive system.
  • Consider a stool softener or gentle laxative if needed.
  • Don’t delay when you feel the urge to poop.

Diarrhea in early pregnancy

While less common than constipation, some women deal with loose stool and diarrhea in early pregnancy due to the following reasons:


  • Hormones stimulating intestinal contractions.
  • Eating more fruits can have a laxative effect.
  • Food aversions lead to imbalance in gut bacteria.
  • Prenatal vitamins taken on an empty stomach.
  • Drinking too much caffeine.

Managing diarrhea

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clear fluids.
  • Avoid greasy, spicy, or sugary foods.
  • Eat bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
  • Take probiotic supplements to support gut health.
  • Reduce caffeine intake from coffee, tea, soda.

Warning signs

While poop changes are normal in early pregnancy, there are some warning signs to watch out for:

  • Blood in stool
  • Diarrhea lasting more than 2 days
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Fever over 100°F
  • Dizziness or fainting

Notify your doctor if you have any of these red flag symptoms along with bowel issues. They may signify an infection, gastroenteritis, or other complications.

When to call the doctor

Check with your obstetrician or midwife if you experience any of the following:

  • No bowel movement in 3+ days
  • Hard stomach and vomiting
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss from diarrhea or nausea
  • Severe bloating or cramps

Your healthcare provider can recommend safe laxatives, anti-nausea meds, or IV fluids if you are dehydrated from excessive vomiting or diarrhea in early pregnancy.

Tips for healthy poop

Here are some general tips for maintaining healthy bowel function in early pregnancy:

  • Drink plenty of fluids like water and prune juice.
  • Eat foods with soluble fiber like oatmeal and beans.
  • Choose insoluble fiber from bran, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly to stimulate the digestive tract.
  • Set a bathroom routine and don’t ignore the urge to go.
  • Try smoothies with probiotics for gut health.
  • Consider stool softeners if you haven’t pooped in 3 days.

When does poop go back to normal?

For most women, bowel function starts to normalize again around weeks 10 to 12 of pregnancy. The body adjusts to the hormonal changes and the uterus rises up out of the pelvis, relieving pressure on the rectum. Close to the end of the first trimester, many women find their poop returns to their regular pre-pregnancy pattern.

However, every pregnancy is unique. Some women struggle with constipation or other bowel issues well into the second and third trimesters. Stay in touch with your healthcare provider if problems with diarrhea or constipation persist longer than the first trimester.

Key takeaways

  • Constipation is more common than diarrhea in early pregnancy.
  • Hormonal changes usually cause poop changes between 6-8 weeks pregnant.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, exercise, and eat fiber to help with constipation.
  • Call your doctor if you have rectal bleeding or worsening diarrhea.
  • Bowel function often returns to normal by weeks 10-12.


It’s very normal for bowel movements to change during the early stages of pregnancy. Try making dietary changes, staying hydrated, and exercising to find relief from constipation or diarrhea. However, contact your healthcare provider if problems persist longer than the first trimester. With the right remedies and lifestyle adjustments, you can get your poop patterns back to normal again.