Diarrhoea and Vomiting

Diarrhoea and Vomiting in pregnancy 20 weeks and over

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, often known as morning sickness, is very common in early pregnancy. It can affect you anytime during the day or night, and usually settles by 16-20 weeks. Some women suffer with severe sickness during pregnancy, this is called hyperemesis gravidarum and you may need to see your GP or be treated in hospital. 

Diarrhoea and vomiting are not usually pregnancy related and most likely caused by gastroenteritis (a tummy bug). 

During episodes of sickness or diarrhoea it is important to remain hydrated. If you are vomiting, try to take sips of water (little and often) rather than large volumes in one go. Remember the usual advice about hand washing to protect your family and friends.

Diarrhoea can last up to 5-7 days and vomiting usually lasts up to 2 days. Link to Pharmacist

Call 999

Diarrhoea and vomiting is not a medical emergency, however you should call for help straight away if you have an infection (usually associated with a high temperature) and show signs of sepsis.

Signs of sepsis:

  • Slurred speech or confusion or not being able to think straight 

  • Excessive shivering 

  • Passing no urine/ wee (in a day)

  • Severe breathlessness

  • It feels like you’re severely ill and you feel anxious or frightened

  • Skin mottled or discoloured

Contact your GP surgery today (NHS111 out of hours) if you have any of the following

  • You have a temperature 38°C or over (or feel hot to  touch)

  • You are unable to drink sips and there is no improvement in symptoms after 24- 48 hours

  • You have been unable to pass urine (wee) for the past 8 hours.

  • You have diarrhoea for more than 7 days or vomiting for more than 3 days

  • You have a long term health condition, diabetes or take regular medications

Please alert the receptionist to your symptoms as they may wish you to wait in isolation, apart from the main waiting area.

Contact your maternity unit if you have any of the following:

- Reduced baby movements 

  • Vomiting with other symptoms of pre-eclampsia or known high blood pressure. (such as severe headaches not relieved with paracetamol

  • Vision problems, such as blurring or seeing flashing lights. Epigastric pain- pain just below the ribs not related to your baby moving or a sudden increase in swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands oedema 


Self-care at home if you have none of the red or amber signs above and:

  • You can still feel good movements from your baby

  • You are able to keep down sips of water

Self Care

Stay at home and get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids such as water or squash. If feeling sick take small sips only. Eat when you feel able to, you don’t need to have or avoid any specific food. Contact your maternity unit if you are still worried.

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