Things can get kind of weird when you’re pregnant. You do weird things, want weird things, weird things go into you, and maybe, weird things come out of you. Sometimes, things happen that you don’t want to talk about, one of them being that strange green poop.
So why green poop when you’re pregnant? What’s in it? And is it normal?
This sounds very much like a picture book for young children, doesn’t it? Poop consists of water, fiber, bacteria, bile and cells that have sloughed off the inside of your intestinal tract.
Your poop is basically the remains of smashed up food that your body hasn’t made use of as part of the digestion process.
Some people find their poop distasteful and talking about it a bit embarrassing, but paying attention to your poop could be a very good idea. Abnormal poop could be a sign that something is abnormal.
So it does pay to get to know your poop and be on the alert for when it changes.
To be honest, I don’t remember having green poop from any of my pregnancies, but that could just be put down to the fog of baby brain. So I was interested in looking into this phenomenon too. It turns out your poop could be green for a surprising number of reasons.
And the quick answer is, yes, generally green stools are very normal when you are pregnant, and apart from being a bit gross, are nothing to be concerned about.
However it may be of concern at times, while you shouldn’t panic, you may need a bit more information and possibly a second opinion. Here are a number of explanations for the green:
It is highly recommended that you take a good quality prenatal vitamin when pregnant to give your body the best start at growing your baby. However, your very healthy multivitamin can give some women green poop, due to the rich iron content in the vitamins.
Your body needs the iron to increase the quantity of blood in your body during pregnancy, but sometimes there is supplementary iron. If the body doesn't absorb the iron, it is eliminated in the poop and looks green.
If you are on medications such as antibiotics, you may have green stools. This condition is again no cause for alarm and should cease when you finish the course of medication. Don’t suddenly stop taking medications that a doctor has prescribed to you.
The food you are eating might be the culprit. While pregnant, you are encouraged to have large quantities of leafy green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, larger than your body would normally process.
Sometimes, the excess chlorophyll (green pigment) and iron and minerals come out in your poop. These foods are extremely good for you and for your baby’s development, so green poop is not a bad thing, and should certainly not prevent you from eating healthy.
That phrase doesn’t really pop up often in everyday conversation, does it? This describes a shorter than normal time taken for food to pass through your intestine.
In breaking down the food you eat, the bile juice (isn’t this topic just the best?) does its work and turns the poop green.
The food passes through the small intestine first, then the large intestine, during which process the bacteria react with it, turning the poop brown. Just out of interest, and who doesn’t enjoy random facts about fecal matter, this whole process takes between 18-36 hours.
If your food passes through the large intestine at a rate quicker than normal, the bacteria don’t have enough time to react to it. As a result, your poop will come out green. Often if this is the case, it will also come out as loose stools or diarrhea.
If you have ongoing intestinal problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn’s Disease, this can cause green poop. In this situation, food may cause bleeding in the intestine, and when the blood combines with bile, stools can be green.
While nothing to worry about as such, this should not be ignored, and you should be seeking treatment for this.
Green poop could also indicate the presence of an intestinal infection or food poisoning, which is a slight cause for concern. If you believe the cause may be something else rather than your diet and vitamins, again you may need treatment and should consult with your doctor.
It has been said that green poop very late in your pregnancy could be a sign of early labor. This is a bit confusing; loose stools by the mother may be a sign of early labor but just as easily may not. However, many women go into labor without this.
A green foul smelling vaginal discharge (may also be yellow or brown) could mean that the baby has passed his meconium or first poop. In this case, you need to seek medical attention immediately as this could be a sign of fetal distress.
The vast majority of times a pregnant woman has green poop; it is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Once your diet becomes more normal after you have given birth, your stool color should back to normal too.
In general, however, if there is a prolonged change in your stools, including the color, it’s probably something you should talk to your doctor about as it could indicate something more serious.
Now your next question is going to be why your baby’s poop is green. But that’s a story for another day. (P.S. It’s also normal)
Amy Duncan is the founder of KindMommy, a blog where she's providing helpful information about pregnancy and many useful tips for young parents. Besides writing, Amy loves to cook and travel with her friends and family. You can also find Amy on Twitter (@AmyKindmommy).