Pregnant, breastfeeding, and parasites

I am breastfeeding my 11 month old daughter, incubating my 12 week fetus, and hosting parasites in my intestines.  I feel so used!

After two weeks of diarrhea-denial (I just keep thinking it would get better?), I started to feel weak, dizzy, and I started to become concerned about the absorption of nutrition for me and my two babies feeding from me.  I finally went to the doctor here in Ladybrand, South Africa, and it looks like it’s parasites- probably girardia that I picked up in Jordan when I was there working a few weeks ago.

Lesson #1: Avoid drinking tea from communal tea cups in Bedouin settlements in the middle of the desert in Jordan in case it is contaminated with someone’s feces.  Yes, it’s hard to decline when you’re working with locals, but there are lots of excuses.

Lesson #2: Don’t wait two weeks to go to the doctor with diarrhea, especially when pregnant and breastfeeding.  Parasites won’t hurt the baby, but dehydration can- keeping the body hydrated is important for a functioning placenta!

There are meds to get rid of the girardia, but many of them are dangerous for the fetus, so instead I’m treating the symptoms with oral rehydration, pro-biotics, and anti-diarrhea stuff (all safe for pregnancy and lactation).  My energy has bounced back, and hopefully the parasites will leave soon!

The tea so wasn’t worth it.

Related Pages:

Pregnancy and Child Birth

Breastfeeding to Boost Immunity

Is it Safe and Allowed to Fly Pregnant?

2 thoughts on “Pregnant, breastfeeding, and parasites”

  • I received a comment over email from a reader regarding this post, which I think would be useful to share, since the point is that things like girardia and parasites have no boundaries- you can pick them up in the U.S. as well!

    “If it makes you feel any better, you can get giardia here too. I got it when I was breastfeeding, probably from doing Physical Therapy in daycares. Evidently, a fair number of kids are hosts. Great for losing weight, not so great for pregnancy.”

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