As you’re completely aware by now, pregnancy affects every part of the body — even digestion and poop!
Bowel movements can look different some days even when we’re not pregnant. Green poop might make you look in the bowl twice, but it’s in the range of normal for poop (believe it or not).
There are several reasons why your poop might be green. While it’s not common, it’s usually nothing to worry about. Some causes have nothing to do with pregnancy — green poop can sometimes happen to anyone.
You poop (some of) what you eat! Some foods can give your poop a greenish tinge, whether you’re pregnant or not.
Fiber-rich foods help bulk up poop. A lot of the fiber isn’t digested and gets passed out of your body. If you’ve eaten a lot of fiber-rich, green plant foods, they might also color your stool.
Foods that might sometimes cause green poop include:
- collard greens
Food coloring and dyes are chemicals that brighten up some foods. If you’ve sipped green soda or had a piece of cake with green frosted icing (maybe on St. Patrick’s Day?), you may have green poop.
Some food dyes use blue-green seaweed called spirulina to give them a green hue. Others are made from artificial chemicals. Both kinds of green food dyes can give you mint-colored poo.
Similarly, other food colorings and dyes can sometimes brighten your poop. Some black, purple, and blue food coloring can also turn your poop green. This is because the dyes partly break down as your food is digested.
You’re likely taking a prenatal supplement. Check the ingredients. It will probably have the mineral iron in it. Iron is important for your body to make plenty of red blood cells for you and your baby.
Taking iron supplements can also sometimes give you greenish to black stool.
Make sure you’re not taking extra iron along with your daily prenatal supplement. Take all your supplements in the recommended dosages and drink plenty of water to wash them down.
Some medications can temporarily change the color of your poop. Antibiotics get rid of some healthy bacteria in your gut, along with the “nasty” bacteria. Friendly bacteria help to make brown-colored poop.
Taking antibiotics might give you green poop for a little while. Don’t worry, the healthy bacteria will move back in when you’re no longer on antibiotics.
Other medications can also make your poop green. This includes the pain medication indomethacin.
Gallstones are hardened bits of cholesterol and digestive acids in your gallbladder. If you’re pregnant, you have a higher chance of getting a gallstone because pregnancy hormones temporarily raise cholesterol levels.
Don’t worry — usually, the gallstone just floats around until it dissolves and doesn’t cause any symptoms. Other times, gallstones collect like loose gravel and cause a blockage in the bile ducts.
The bile ducts are part of your digestive system. These tubes carry bile (digestive fluid) from the liver and gallbladder to the intestines. The small intestine is where most food digestion happens.
A blockage in the bile ducts can happen from an infection, inflammation, or bile stones. Bile is also what makes poop a darker shade like brown. If there’s no bile, your poop will be a lighter shade, usually yellow, but sometimes light green.
If your poop is light green to yellow, it might be because of an infection. An infection or swelling in the liver, pancreas, or gallbladder can sometimes lighten the color of your poop, whether you’re pregnant or not.
Inflammation (swelling) in the liver can also give you lighter colored bowel movements. Gallstones can sometimes trigger an infection or inflammation in the liver.
Regular pregnancy changes
As your baby grows, your intestines and other important inside parts get squished to one side. You also have high levels of pregnancy hormones like progesterone. These changes usually cause constipation, bloating, and gas.
Some pregnancy hormones can also lead to faster digestion. While this doesn’t cause diarrhea, it can lead to green poop. This happens because when your body doesn’t take the time to properly make poop, friendly bacteria can’t turn it brown.
Bile is naturally a yellow-green color. When it mixes with poop, friendly bacteria help to turn it brown. If your poop isn’t pampered enough by bacteria, it’ll come out a greenish shade rather than brown.
If you have an infection or a digestive condition, your intestines may get irritated and get rid of your stool before it has time to turn to a nice brown shade, instead of green.
Digestive infections and chronic conditions that might flare up during pregnancy include:
- food poisoning
- E. coli infections
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- celiac disease
Diarrhea or loose, watery poop is common in your third trimester (something to look forward to!). You might get a lot of diarrhea as your delivery date gets closer because of spiking hormone levels.
While green poop can also happen during this time, it doesn’t usually mean you’re about to go into labor. Green poop can happen at any time during your pregnancy.
Green poop during pregnancy will usually go away on its own. You don’t need to call your doctor if it happens occasionally and if you have no other symptoms.
Call your doctor right away if you have other symptoms along with green poop, like:
- diarrhea that lasts longer than 3 days
- unusually smelly gas
- stomach pain
- back pain
- pain in the upper right abdomen
- pain in the shoulder area
Speaking of poop colors, let your doctor know if you think you may have blood in your poop. Bright, red blood in your stool might look alarming, but it’s usually just from hemorrhoids close to the outside of your body.
On the other hand, dark red to black blood in your poop, or poop that looks like coffee grounds, means that the bleeding is higher up in your digestive tract. You may need urgent medical care. Call your doctor right away.
Your poop can tell you a lot both during pregnancy and when you’re not pregnant. Take a quick glance in the toilet to loosely keep track of your poop changes. (No pun intended).
Green poop can happen for lots of reasons. Most of these causes are nothing to be concerned about. Let your doctor know if you have any other symptoms along with changes to your stool color.