Throwing Up Blood While Pregnant
Throwing Up Blood While Pregnant: If you’ve been vomiting a lot, it’s no surprise that throwing up blood while pregnant may make you anxious. But this isn’t really something to worry about all that much. In fact, it’s pretty common for some women to have a little spotting here and there throughout their pregnancies.
The most important thing to remember if you notice blood on your morning sickness tray is not to panic. The cause could be anything from food poisoning to minor cuts and bruises, according to Dr. Jennifer Ashton-Grimes, M.D., OB/GYN at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio. “It’s unlikely to be life threatening,” she says. If you think you’re experiencing more than just a bit of blood, call your doctor immediately.
So what causes the blood? It could come from several different places. There are two main culprits: the stomach (where the fetus develops) and the esophagus (which runs from the throat down into the abdomen). When these body parts aren’t working properly together, they can create problems with digestion and sometimes even rupture.
“Sometimes when you eat spicy foods or hot foods, those will get trapped in the esophagus and cause irritation,” explains Ashley Karr, registered dietitian nutritionist based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. “This also happens when swallowing becomes difficult.” Swallowing difficulties include having difficulty clearing your saliva, a condition called sialorrhea, which is fairly common early on in pregnancy. Saliva helps protect our bodies from infection, and without it we’re more likely to swallow things like bacteria and viruses.
Stomach acids normally digest whatever you consume, so when they don’t work as well, it can lead to heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux. Food can also end up being regurgitated because of a decreased ability to swallow. As a result, you’ll feel hungry often. And since you won’t be eating enough, your appetite will decrease.
What Are the Symptoms?
Bloody stool is one of the first symptoms many people experience. You might see bright red chunks in your toilet bowl. Another sign is coffee-colored stools. These colors come from hemoglobin, the protein responsible for carrying oxygen around the body. Hemoglobin is found in red blood cells. So when there’s too much of it, it turns brown and then dark green. Green could indicate that your iron levels are low, which means that your vitamin B12 or folic acid supplements aren’t getting absorbed properly.
Another warning sign is black tarry stools, which could mean that your intestines have become blocked. Black stools could also be a sign of intestinal parasites. Your doctor should check you out thoroughly if you experience either of these problems.
How Do I Know What Causes It?
You can tell whether you’re suffering from excess stomach acid with changes in how your clothes fit. A shirt that was roomy earlier suddenly feels tight. Pants that were loose before suddenly seem snug. You shouldn’t experience this discomfort until after you start gaining weight, though.
“Some nausea medications may cause bloating and abdominal pain, so if you take them, you need to watch for that symptom,” notes Dr. Ashton-Grimes.
Your doctor should also help you figure out why you’re feeling nauseous, especially if it lasts beyond your second trimester. Some conditions require immediate medical attention. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you haven’t had any luck figuring out what’s causing your severe morning sickness.
Most of the time, however, the best way to prevent blood in your vomit is simple: Eat healthy, stay hydrated and avoid smoking.
“I recommend keeping snacks handy at home and avoiding alcohol and tobacco,” Karr recommends. “When you’re stressed or tired, you tend to crave comfort foods like ice cream, chips or cookies, but these are usually high in fat and calories and only add stress to your already uncomfortable state.”
Is Throwing Up Blood Dangerous?
While blood in your vomit does sound scary, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to die. Lots of pregnant women who experience blood in their vomit actually survive perfectly fine. That said, it’s always good to know the right course of action to take if you do wind up facing a potentially dangerous situation.
First off, try to determine where the blood is coming from. Is it in your mouth? Then you may have food poisoning. Or maybe it’s in your upper digestive tract. If it’s in your lower digestive tract, it could be an internal bleed, such as diverticulitis, appendicitis or cancer. If it’s in your uterus, it could be a placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta prematurely detaches from the wall of the uterine cavity.
Regardless of its origin, you should head straight to the hospital if you suspect a ruptured digestive tract. Signs of a ruptured digestive tract include persistent diarrhea, fever, and bloody bowel movements.
If the blood comes from somewhere else, though, you still want to find the source quickly. Call your doctor. He or she should be able to direct you to someone trained to deal with the problem.
If you do develop a blood clot in your leg, you can expect to wake up with bruising. However, if the clot moves up to your lungs, you could suffer a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. Seek medical attention right away if you experience chest pains, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or swelling in your legs or arms.
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