Dehydration During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms & How to Prevent It
Pregnant women are more likely to be dehydrated than other people due to symptoms such as an increase in blood volume, changes in appetite, and an increase in sweating.
The growing baby puts a lot of strain on the body, which means pregnant women require more calories and fluids while giving up fluids they routinely consumed prior such as coffee or sodas. Dehydration can also be caused by morning sickness, which may lead to excessive vomiting.
This article discusses some ways to recognize dehydration during pregnancy, why it’s important, and how to avoid it.
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration happens when your body uses or loses more fluid than it takes in, and your body is unable to carry out its normal tasks due to a lack of water and other fluids. You will become dehydrated if you do not restore lost fluids. Depending on how much fluid your body is missing, you can have mild, moderate, or severe dehydration.
Why is Prevention of Dehydration in Pregnancy Important?
Dehydration is quite dangerous for pregnant women because their body supports both them and their pregnancy’s growth. You should take steps to prevent it in order to keep you and your baby healthy.
Mild dehydration is usually not a problem during pregnancy as long as you drink adequate water to replenish the lost fluids. Here are some complications you can have during pregnancy if you don’t actively maintain your hydration levels:
Whether you were suffering from migraines before or not, dehydration during pregnancy can cause severe headaches. This is why you not only need to stay hydrated and rest adequately but also track and reduce your triggers if you already suffer from migraines. Talk to your doctor about which medications to use.
Urinary Tract Infections
Maintaining good hydration levels helps to remove the toxins in your body. Low hydration levels may reduce the efficiency of the process, which may lead to health concerns like infections in the urinary tract. Remember that a pregnant woman needs more water than usual!
In any case, hydration contributes to the overall health of the baby.
Things That Can Cause Dehydration During Pregnancy
Is dehydration a sign of pregnancy? It can be. Some women reported getting dehydrated more easily when they got pregnant because their body was providing water for both them and their baby. Here are some of the most common causes of dehydration in pregnancy:
Not Drinking Enough Fluids
Although there are numerous guidelines for how much water water should a pregnant woman drink, individual needs differ. With an increase in fluid and calorie needs, women should drink more water during pregnancy than they did pre-pregnancy. A pregnant woman needs to drink at least a dozen glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.
Morning sickness affects almost half of pregnant women, causing vomiting, nausea, sweating, and increased urination. Dehydration is often a problem as a result of frequent vomiting but the body loses water as a result of all of the above circumstances.
Morning sickness is most common in the first trimester and will likely subside during the second so it's important to replenish your fluids accordingly.
During pregnancy, diarrhea is a potential symptom due to hormonal changes. For certain pregnant women, it can be because of sudden changes in diet or increased digestive sensitivity. Diarrhea causes a loss of fluids in your body, so you may become dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water during this period.
Not Absorbing or Retaining Enough Water
Certain medical conditions inhibit the body's ability to absorb water. Dehydration can also be caused by other health problems, particularly those that impact metabolism. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your overall health throughout your pregnancy.
Sweating is quite common during pregnancy, and it’s not a bad thing. Sweating only becomes dangerous when you don’t drink enough water to replace the fluids you’ve lost while sweating.
Increase in Blood Volume
The volume of blood in a woman's body increases by half when she gets pregnant. One of the most common causes of dehydration in the early stages of pregnancy is due to this increase in volume. At this point, the body requires more water and electrolytes can help the body replenish.
Conditions That Can Make The Dehydration While Pregnant Worse
There are some things that can affect pregnant women regardless of how well they take care of themselves including:
Diabetes can increase your chances of being dehydrated.
Although pregnant women may exercise differently than before they were pregnant, you are recommended to exercise. Listen to your doctor’s recommendation for exercising during pregnancy.
Getting overheated because you are wrapped up too warmly, or spend too long in a hot shower, can also make us sweat too much. If you are unable to avoid these situations, make sure to drink one or two extra glasses of water every day.
Dehydration While Pregnant Symptoms: 25 Signs of Dehydration in Pregnancy You Must Know
Generally, feeling thirsty is a sign of dehydration during pregnancy. Overheating in the mother can also be a sign of dehydration; if you don't consume enough water, your body will struggle to regulate heat and you will become prone to overheating.
However, there are a few other signs and symptoms of dehydration to be aware of. The severity of dehydration varies from mild to moderate to severe.
Symptoms of Mild to Moderate Dehydration
Here are some symptoms of mild and moderate dehydration:
- Feeling thirsty: Thirst is the primary symptom of dehydration, and as soon as you feel thirsty, you should drink some water.
- Increase in heart rate: Mild dehydration tends to make your heart rate spike, which is even more common among pregnant women.
- Feeling anxious: Dehydration can also make pregnant women slightly more anxious than usual.
- Less frequent urination: If your body doesn’t have enough water, it will try to regulate the amount of water it loses, which can cause you to urinate less frequently.
- Tiredness: Tiredness is a sign of mild or moderate dehydration and it is a bother if you’re used to being active so make sure to drink water!
- Headaches: Pregnant women with mild or moderate dehydration can suffer from headaches and migraines.
- Constipation: Constipation is a common symptom of moderate dehydration in pregnant women. The amount of water in your body is reduced so bowel movements can be more difficult.
- Dark yellow urine: The amount of urine you produce will reduce drastically when you’re moderately dehydrated, and the little urine that you produce will be highly concentrated. Its concentration will give it a dark yellow color.
- Dizziness and Nausea: Moderate dehydration can come with nausea, dizziness, in addition to headaches and constipation.
How to Prevent Dehydration in Pregnancy
Water constitutes about 60% of our bodies and plays a crucial part in all bodily functions. Waste elimination, digestion, and homeostasis are all aided by water. It even aids in the cushioning of your joints.
As a pregnant woman, you and your baby need more water than other people. This is because water plays even more roles during pregnancy. Water is necessary for the placenta to provide nutrients to your growing baby and the amniotic sac to cushion your baby throughout pregnancy. Electrolytes, such as salt and magnesium, may be required by certain dehydrated pregnant women to help absorb and retain fluids well.
Remember that staying hydrated requires more than just water; soup, juice, milk, and watery fruits like watermelons and cucumbers can all help. Here are a few tips for staying hydrated and avoiding dehydration when pregnant:
- Warm water and mild teas may be less of a shock to your stomach than cold water if you feel nauseous.
- If you still have trouble drinking water, label a bottle of water and sip every 15-20 minutes as if you were exercising.
- Dress in cool, breezy clothing and avoid exercising to prevent unnecessary loss of water through sweating.
- Avoid consuming too much protein, sugar, or salt, as these can cause you to urinate more frequently. However, don't eliminate all salts. To help retain the water you're drinking in your body, you'll need some electrolytes.
- Avoid eating dry foods. If you feel less nauseous, eat more soups and fruit salads. They are high in water and minerals and will help you stay hydrated.
- Reduce the amount of caffeine you consume. Caffeine is a diuretic—although it’s mild—so if you take a lot of caffeine, you can end up losing water through your kidneys.
Dehydration in Pregnancy: When to Go to the Hospital
It can be tough to tell if dehydration is mild or severe on your own. If symptoms don’t improve after drinking water, please consult your doctor.
Key Takeaways About Pregnant Dehydration
- Dehydration is more common among pregnant women than other people.
- Pregnant women need to drink more fluids because their body is providing for both them and the baby.
- Dehydration ranges from mild to moderate and severe.
- Mild dehydration is easily treated by drinking water while severe and sometimes moderate dehydration might need intravenous fluids.
- Drinking plenty of fluids, wearing breezy clothes, and cutting down on caffeine are some of the best ways to avoid dehydration as a pregnant woman.
- Consult your doctor on the daily amount of water you should drink while you’re pregnant and if you have any questions.
Meta: Dehydration during pregnancy is a concern for many nursing mothers. Learn about the symptoms, causes, and how to best combat dehydration during pregnancy.