From Jen: My go-to Nutritionist Chantal, who is 34 weeks pregnant, had the stomach flu last weekend (and learned that stomach flu cramps feel a lot like early contractions). Luckily Chantal is a nutritionist and very diligent and has a few natural home remedies to share with us to get through those tough couple days…
Pregnancy & Stomach Flu
Having the stomach flu is NEVER fun. But having the stomach flu, aka viral gastroenteritis, during pregnancy can be dangerous If not treated quickly and dehydration sets in.
Because the immune system can be suppressed during pregnancy, you may be more susceptible to viruses. The stomach flu will not transmit or affect your baby directly, but dehydration CAN affect your pregnancy.
In light of my very fun-filled weekend of our family passing the stomach flu around, I wanted to share some natural methods to help ease the discomfort until the virus passes that I was able to use at 34 weeks along.
Treating Early Symptoms of the Stomach Flu
If you are just beginning to feel the symptoms (nausea, chills, diarrhea, decreased appetite, abdominal cramps and fever):
Ginger: Remember those ginger chews you took during your first trimester? Now is the time to bring them out again. Long known as a natural digestive aid and nausea remedy, ginger can help alleviate some of the symptoms before vomiting hits. Aside from chews that can be purchased at natural health food stores, home-made ginger tea can be just as effective. Here’s my recipe:
Homemade Brewed Ginger Tea
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated gingerroot
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
Place grated ginger into a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Fill to the 1-1/2 cup line with boiling water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and strain into a mug. If the taste is too strong, add more boiling water to dilute. DO NOT ADD ANY SORT OF SUGAR.
Mint: Like ginger, peppermint also helps fight an upset stomach and studies have found that it can also ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Drinking peppermint tea can help fight a sour stomach.
Probiotics: The virus gastroenteritis can kill many of your good bacteria in your digestive system, and since 75% of our immune system is found in our gut, it’s a good idea to replenish them and bring your system into balance. Foods like yogurt and kefir often contain probiotics, but make sure you have the correct dosage and the right kind of bacteria. Look for at least 10 billion colony of Bifidobacterium bifidum and L. acidophilus. Continue to consume daily for the duration of the illness and at least two weeks after. The probiotics will help boost your immune system to fight off other diseases.
Managing Your Stomach Flu
If you are already vomiting and experiencing heavy diarrhea – wait at least 1-2 hours before consuming any liquids, even water or electrolytes. Your stomach needs to heal itself and the spasms need to end. Sometimes introducing liquids too quickly can force your stomach to reject it automatically.
Instead of purchasing those electrolyte drinks at the store or pharmacy that are filled with chemicals, refined sugars and dyes, make your own at home that is just as effective and safer on your digestive system. What exactly are electrolytes and why is it better than water? Your body has a balance, and has “ionic solutions” called electrolytes that keep your body, muscles, and nerves functioning properly. During the stomach flu, you lose a lot of these ionic solutions in vomiting and diarrhea and in order to regain your energy, strength and stamina, you will need to replenish all of the electrolytes lost. You can try this homemade recipe – your body will thank you, and you will start to regain energy again.
Easy Homemade Electrolyte Drink
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups of filtered water
- 2 -4 tablespoons raw honey, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon unrefined salt (to taste)
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
During the stomach flu it’s important to avoid high sugar and fat content. Do not drink flat soda, fruit juices or ginger ale, despite old wives’ tales, since the high sugar content can actually aggravate your symptoms and make it worse.
The stomach flu should subside within 48 hours, but as in any health concerns, contact your health-care provider if you think you are becoming dehydrated or symptoms persist for more than 2 days.