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My wife had quite a tough time during pregnancy. She had morning sickness all the way through, vomiting regularly, although not enough to put her in hospital or require treatment. She also had severe heartburn. As the baby was breach with the cord around her neck, she had an elective caesarian.

They both seem to be in good health now, except that my wife is especially prone to stomach bugs/food poisoning.

The first time this happened was 6-8 months after birth. My wife came down with a norovirus-like bug, lasting a day or two, recovered, then came down with something similar 2 weeks later, and again a week after that. My daughter was fine and I was only sick for one day. The local hospital did an abdominal ultrasound, but found nothing unusual.

Now, a year later she's had another bout and still feels a bit nauseous ten days later. I'm fine, despite being in close proximity and eating the same things.

Obviously we're not looking for medical advice, but I'm wondering whether she might have been made more susceptible to this kind of thing as a result of pregnancy or the caesarian operation? Has anyone heard of that?

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3 Answers

I always had an "iron stomach," until I became a mother. In the first two years of my daughter's life I was sick 5 times with norovirus or something similar, once I had to go to the ER for IV fluids and twice I got sick, recovered and then relapsed. Besidss that, I was frequently sick with URI's. This is what I learned from my MD and my Naturopath:

During pregnancy, hormonal changes occur that impact the mother's immune system, possibly making her more succeptible to viral or bacterial infections. Postpartum, both breast feeding, which suppresses estrogen production, and lack of sleep can weaken mom's immune response. Stress is yet another risk factor for weakened immune response.

Nutritional deficiencies will also negatively effect disease resistance. Vitamin D deficiency, especially prevalent in the northern hemisphere during fall and winter can lower immune response, as can anemia. Bouts of food poisoning or gastroenteritis can damage cells lining the intestine and deplete healthy intestinal flora, making it more difficult to digest food and absorb nutrients; exacerbating and perpetuating the problem. Antibiotics also kill off intestinal flora.

What really helped me the most was taking high-quality probiotics and a course of vitamin d at a very high dose prescribed by my doctor. Those two things, plus learning some easy stress reduction techniques made a world of difference in my health and energy. Adequate rest and exercise are beneficial too.

I hope your wife is feeling better soon.

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Man! I wish I'd had your doctor and a naturpath!! –  balanced mama Nov 30 '13 at 4:14
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Heh...I interrogated them both and cross referenced what one told me with the other. I was sure there was something more going on than "new moms get sick a lot" and I wanted to fix it. I'm sure they are glad I got well and rarely see them any more. –  beansa Nov 30 '13 at 7:32
    
Thanks for this thorough response and suggestions. –  JamesBradbury Dec 2 '13 at 10:04
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I've had a similar experience, but been told I was crazy for connecting the pregnancy to my post-pregnancy stomach problems (8.5 months of sever nausea to the point I did need help getting re-hydrated, ceasarian heartburn etc during pregnancy and then easily made naseausous after). So, even though I've never heard of it - I too, have experienced it.

Seven years later I've figured a few things out that help:

Stay hydrated!! Hangovers and their symptoms are actually caused largely by the dehydration alcohol causes. Considering this, since I am so suceptable to nausea, I figure it best to stay overly-hydrated so I can do everything possible to avoid the nausea. It really does seem to help too.

Whatever the cause - I have found that keeping light quick snacks around helps. My stomach is less likely to become upset, or for heartburn or reflux to set in if I eat 4-6 times per day rather than the usual three. Of course, these have to be much smaller meals.

I also don't drink (even water) with my meals, but drink water in small sips throughout the day and I drink other liquids (like cofee, milk, juices, teas and alcohol) only after I've had a light snack that included something like crackers or toast.

I tend to avoid really cold beverages.

If I get overly tired, I am more prone to stomach bugs/nausea than if I am well rested.

Of course eating healthier food choices and getting regular exercise also makes a difference.

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Thanks for the answer. It's good to know that at least she's not alone and, while this could be a coincidence (a sample size of 3 isn't much to go on), it may also be, as suspected, a side-effect of pregnancy. –  JamesBradbury Dec 2 '13 at 10:04
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After my pregnancy, I figured out that my intermittent stomach issues were related to fructose malabsorption. This would be something to look into if the vomiting is connected to excess gas/burping.

There isn't really a treatment for it other than to avoid the worst offenders (apples and pears). Some people even have problems with a wider range of foods including tomatoes, dried fruits, and foods containing frucans (whole wheat, onions, garlic).

This could be why she is affected when no one else in the family gets the "bug". It is also intermittent because I only got a reaction when I overloaded my system with too much of the offending foods. I could tolerate them in small amounts, so it wasn't as obvious as an allergic reaction every time I ate them. I think my tolerance was reduced after the pregnancy, so I got sick more often.

Some references include: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose_malabsorption http://theceliacmd.com/fructose-malabsorption-is-is-the-cause-of-my-tummy-troubles/

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