You’re frozen in a state of shock. You have been to the toilet, you just so happened to look down and there it was – green poop.
Are you turning into an alien?
Is something going rotten?
Is this a pregnancy symptom you have yet to hear about?
Worry not ladies, there are many very rational reasons why your poop can turn a rather unattractive shade of green during pregnancy, in fact during any time of your life.
Do you regularly inspect your poop?
Probably not; this is probably something you’ve started doing without thinking about it because your body is on high alert to check for anything that could be wrong or amiss with the growing life inside of you.
Pregnancy has a habit of making us super anxious about a lot of things, and whilst your poop could very well have been tinged with green before, you’re only just noticing it now.
So, why is this so?
Why Has My Poop Turned Green?
Biology lesson about to begin. This is all down to your liver.
Poop is meant to be brown, this is what it should be in its natural state. Your liver creates something called bile, and this is a yellowy-green shade naturally.
Bile is a naturally occurring substance and it is designed to absorb fat that you consume via your food and drinks.
Once this is done, the food continues on its merry way into your large intestines, and this is where it is all processed into poop and turns brown.
Now, when you eat too fast, or the food has somehow gone through your system a little too quickly, the job isn’t done completely, and it stays that green color; it basically hasn’t had the time to turn brown.
That’s really all it is.
Now, this could simply be a one off occasion, or it could be that you’re eating too fast and you need to slow down.
On the other hand, there are some other conditions which can cause this to occur on a regular basis, such as :
- Celiac disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Gastroenteritis (a vital condition, a rather unpleasant one at that)
- An E-Coli infection, aka food poisoning
- Salmonella food poisoning
Yes, those conditions all sound very medical and scary, but they are strangely common, and they are not the only reason for this green tinge to have occurred.
Your poop could have gone green for a very innocent reason too, and it has a habit of being more prevalent during pregnancy.
Whether that is down to a reason or down to the fact you’re only just noticing it, that’s a personal thing.
- Are you taking laxatives? This can speed everything up to the point where there is no time for your poop to go brown
- Are you taking iron supplements? These can often make your poop darker, or occasionally green
- Have you eaten anything which is green in color itself? We’re talking about vegetables that are green. These can easily stain your poop a green color
It’s really a case of thinking about what you’ve eaten and figuring out whether any of the above applies. If so, you probably just need to make a few changes in your diet and everything will go back to normal.
If it doesn’t, just go for a check up with your doctor to put your mind at rest.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed about this.
Doctors have seen every type of poop imaginable, your green tinge is not going to be the worst thing he or she has set their eyes on!
It could be that you just need to swap your iron or vitamin supplement or something which a less potent level, and the color should return to normal also.
But again, this is something to discuss with your doctor before making any changes yourself.
The Joys of Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a weird and wonderful time, and green poop is just one of the strange things you might have to deal with.
Embrace it, at the end of your pregnancy you’ll be missing these strange symptoms, or maybe not …
A word of warning here about food poisoning and infection however. We did mention that E-Coli and salmonella can cause your poop to go green, because it doesn’t give the intestines enough time to do their work.
Now, it’s a good idea to do everything you can to avoid becoming infected by uncooked food or anything viral in the first place.
How do you do this?
- Wash your hands after going to the toilet every single time
- Wash your hands after changing nappies or helping your children go to the toilet too
- Make sure any meat is thoroughly cooked through
- Make sure any food in general is cooked properly, especially eggs, etc
- Never reheat anything and if you do, make sure it is super hot
- Wash all work surfaces and anything which has come into contact with uncooked meat very well – this is to avoid the risk of cross-contamination
You can’t totally avoid the risk of catching a stomach bug (gastroenteritis) and falling ill due to it, but you can minimize your risk by washing your hands as we have mentioned above.
If You’re Worried …
If you’re still worried after thinking carefully about anything you may have eaten and after making a few dietary changes, call your doctor’s office or speak to your midwife.
If they think there is any need to do any tests, this will be done and it can all put your mind at rest.
It’s very likely that your green poop problem is down to a totally natural cause and can be eradicated by making minor changes.
Green poop does not always mean a serious problem, and even if it is down to a condition, such as IBS, this can be managed quite easily with diet and sometimes with medications.
Green poop is certainly not the end of the world!