Most women know that vomiting during pregnancy is not only common – it is actually expected. At some point, the nausea or “morning sickness” will lead to vomiting for most women. However, throwing up blood while pregnant is definitely not a normal part of pregnancy. The most common reason for throwing up blood is serious vomiting for a long period of time, which eventually tears part of the esophagus lining. Fortunately, this is easily dealt with medically.
However, it is important to know that some serious conditions can also lead to throwing up blood during pregnancy. Ruling out those conditions is crucial for the health of the mother and the unborn child.
What Causes Throwing Up Blood While Pregnant?
There is actually a name for throwing up blood and it is called hematemesis. It might happen during the first trimester of pregnancy, when morning sickness is at its worst. The blood might be black or dark brown, or even look like coffee grounds. This usually comes from bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, often caused by the force of previous vomiting. The vomiting might be regurgitation of your stomach contents mixed with blood from a small tear somewhere in your esophagus.
If you are dealing with throwing up blood during pregnancy and it lasts for a long while, you might begin to experience black, tarry stools. This means that the blood is now in your lower intestinal tract. You might suffer from dizziness, some abdominal pain, and low blood pressure.
In addition to hematemesis, here are some of the other common causes of throwing up blood while pregnant:
- Dehydration. The more dehydrated you are, the more nauseas you will become, and the more likely you will throw up often.
- Starvation. Strangely enough, if you don’t get enough to eat during pregnancy, your body will rebel with vomiting.
- Gastritis. An inflammation of the stomach can lead to vomiting tinged with blood.
- Improper diet. Just like starvation or dehydration, eating the wrong things can make your body fight back, even throwing up blood while pregnant.
- Ruptured esophagus. When you vomit repeatedly, it’s tough on your body. Your esophagus might have a small rupture that leads to blood in the vomit.
- Food poisoning. Everyone’s gastrointestinal nightmare, food poisoning can be especially tough on a pregnant woman who is already vomiting more than she can stand.
- Hypertension or stress. The more stressed out you are, the more upset your stomach might be, and that can lead to vomiting.
- Medications. Certain medications have side effects that lead to severe nausea and vomiting. For example, some women experience nausea when they take their prenatal vitamins.
- Cirrhosis. This is a very serious condition that relates to liver health. Problems with cirrhosis can lead to throwing up bright red blood.
- Rupture of the gastrointestinal tract. This serious condition is often presented with excessive vomiting of blood, often bright red, as well as abdominal pain and weakness.
How Is Throwing Up Blood During Pregnancy Treated?
When you are throwing up blood while pregnant, it’s definitely cause for concern. This means that you need regular and possibly strict medical supervision. The more blood you lose, the greater your chances of anemia, which can make you weak and cause problems for your child. Proper treatment is essential.
The initial treatment involves finding exactly what is causing the bleeding, as well as potentially treating the problem with IV fluids or even a blood transfusion, assuming the bleeding has gotten bad enough. Sometimes treatment will involve using an endoscope to see into the gastrointestinal tract, find the source of the bleeding, and repair it.
In addition to medical treatment options and following your doctor’s advice to deal with vomiting blood during pregnancy, there are also a few life style changes you can make:
- Add ginger to your drinks and foods to soothe nausea.
- Eat small meals every 2-3 hours. Avoid eating in large quantities before sleep.
- Keep your windows open during sleep to allow more air flow in your room throughout the night.
- Rest well. Resting is beneficial for your baby’s growth as well as for your wellbeing during pregnancy. Try to avoid any form of stress.
How to Prevent Throwing Up Blood During Pregnancy
Of course, prevention of throwing up blood while pregnant is always preferred. Preventing it can take the form of several steps that help ensure the good health of you and your baby:
- To prevent dehydration, drink as much juices as you can and at least 10-12 glasses of water every day.
- If you smoke, it’s time to stop.
- Don’t drink alcohol. It can irritate the lining of the stomach and lead to even more bleeding.
- Avoid eating spicy foods, as they can lead to further problems with your esophagus.
- If you have acid reflux, ask your doctor for medications to help ease it.
- Don’t take aspirin unless specifically directed to do so by your doctor.
- If you have had recent surgeries or injuries, stay vigilant when it comes to watching for complications.
Remember, if you do start throwing up blood when pregnant, talk to your doctor about what might be wrong and what you can do to avoid the problem in the future.