How to Identify & Avoid Dehydration Headaches: Causes & Treatments

Pregnancy can bring about a variety of symptoms and ailments that you aren’t used to having. It’s important to stay in close contact with your OB/GYN and communicate your symptoms to them.

One of the most common being a headache, which can be caused by dehydration.

Due to pregnancy, your body can become dehydrated more quickly, causing the headaches to come on more frequently. 

But how do you know if it is genuinely a dehydration headache? This article outlines how to identify and avoid dehydration headaches and the causes and treatments of the ailment. 

Can Dehydration Cause Headaches?

The short answer to this question is yes. Dehydration can cause headaches. Many pregnant women struggle to keep down basic foods and liquids. So can not drinking enough water cause headaches?

Why Does Dehydration Cause Headaches?

Our body’s are comprised largely of water. When we have a decrease in fluids, water is no longer at the optimal level that our body needs to be to function properly.

During pregnancy it can be especially hard to maintain the proper fluid levels, and can present as headaches.

How To Identify Dehydration Headaches?

A headache caused by dehydration can happen in several different locations and is often aggravated by movement.

The most typical indication of a dehydration headache is having it escalate when engaging in physical activity.

Dehydration Headache Location Chart

When you have a headache from dehydration, you can feel it in several different areas throughout your head. Unlike other types of headaches, one from dehydration is not specific to any one location.

Dehydration Headaches Symptoms

Getting a headache from dehydration, especially during pregnancy, is no joke. The pain can impact your daily life and stop you from completing your tasks for the day.

To try to get ahead of the pain, keep the following symptoms in mind and consult your doctor if these symptoms persist:

Dark Colored Urine 

Most of us have heard this at some point in our lives, but it often gets lost in the mix of what is real and what is an old wives tale.

Having dark-colored urine is, in fact, an actual symptom of dehydration and is not a made-up ailment. 

Your urine should most commonly be light yellow or almost clear. When it reaches the darker shades of yellow, that is a sign that you need to start consuming more fluids.

Pregnant women especially need to be drinking at least eight cups of water per day, but more than that is often recommended for optimal benefits.

Also, your physician will check your urine during your scheduled visits which can tell them a little bit about your hydration status.


When you are low in your fluid intake levels, this can impact blood flow throughout your body, which can cause you to feel dizzy. 

Although you do need to be careful when experiencing dizziness, especially while pregnant, once you increase your fluid intake, you may start to feel better. This symptom is one to keep an eye on, especially if you are driving or home alone. 

If you start to feel dizzy, get a large glass of water and find a place to rest. Make it a point to up your water intake throughout the day to avoid experiencing the feeling again. 

Heart Rate Changes

Have you ever had a situation where your heart started beating more rapidly than it typically does? Likely this gave you cause for concern, especially if you were pregnant at the time. However, this action may be another symptom of dehydration.

Water is required to make blood flow more easily. When you maintain a proper fluid level, your heart pumps more easily and allows oxygen to travel throughout your body.

Don’t forget that food can contribute to your overall hydration levels as well.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, reach for a glass of water and/or fruits and vegetables with a high water content such as cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, and celery.

Causes And Risk Factors That Trigger Dehydration Migraines And Headaches

It is amazing what water does for our bodies. Although it is such a simple option, it makes a big difference in how our bodies operate and having a reduced amount can trigger migraines. 

It is very easy to not get enough water, having a low level of this super fluid in our bodies is the primary risk factor for dehydration, which can contribute to general headaches as well as the onset of a migraine. 

Not All Fluids Are The Same

Although it may seem like all forms of liquid would be beneficial to stay hydrated, that isn’t the case.

Beverages like alcohol or caffeine coming from drinks or foods can actually have the opposite effect on your body and become a trigger for dehydration and possible headaches.

Very salty foods can also be a contributor to dehydration.

The best way to stay hydrated is by consuming the appropriate amount of water. However, if you find it challenging to drink such a large amount of plain water daily, you can add flavoring.

Additionally, you can sparingly consume flavored water beverages, skim milk, tea, and 100% fruit juices. 

In the end, you want to hydrate in a healthy way that will impact your health. Some fluids will get you to that point, and some will take your body in the opposite direction.

Plan For The Weather

Being in the direct sun or hot weather can negatively impact your hydration level and trigger headaches or migraines. If you know that you will be outside at any time, it is best to plan accordingly.

But what does a plan like that entail? If you are going out for an activity in the sun or hot weather, prepare by packing extra water to take along with you.

Not only that but up your fluid intake before leaving the house for the activity. Having an elevated fluid level will help your body to stave off dehydration for longer.

Make an effort to stay in the shade often, and allow for several hydration breaks.

Additionally, you can take a misting fan or cooling towel to reduce your body heat. This action will help your body to conserve the fluid it has consumed. 

Eat Your Fruits And Veggies

There are other routes to getting the appropriate hydration level that doesn’t include endless amounts of water.

You can also combat dehydration by consuming certain fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Plus, they’re a great source of fiber!

Some of the vegetables that will help you to reach your necessary fluid level are:

  • Watermelon
  • Cucumbers
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches 
  • Oranges
  • Lettuce

It is important to note that you should not replace your fluid intake with fruits and vegetables. Instead, you should use the produce as a way to supplement the water that you consume. 

Three Dehydration Headache Remedies And Tips To Ease The Pain

What do you do if your dehydration headache won’t go away? There are a few tips and tricks on how to manage symptoms of a dehydration headache that you should try out if you find yourself in that position.

If these are persistent, it is important to contact your physician and let them know what you’re experiencing. 

Finding a dehydration headache treatment that works for you is worth its weight in gold!

Cold Compress

Sometimes the best route to alleviating the pain associated with a dehydration headache is to apply a cold compress to your head. When you are in pain, your muscles tighten in response. 

A cold compress will help relax those tightened muscles, therefore decreasing the pain level you are experiencing. Placing the cold pack where the pain is located while drinking water and resting will help the headache to subside.

Anti-Inflammatory Pain Medication

When you have a dehydration headache, one of the biggest solutions for reducing the level of pain you are experiencing is using pain medication.

There are several varieties on the market to choose from today. However, there are limitations to what you can use while pregnant. 

Consult your doctor to find what is safe for you to use while pregnant. Once you find the medication that is safe for you to use, take the amount stated on the packaging and rest with replenishing fluids.

Hopefully, the combination of fluids, rest, and medication will have you feeling back to normal quickly. 


Ingredients to help fight against dehydration are electrolytes. You can find these in many sports drinks, in children’s Pedialyte, or some enhanced waters. These drinks can help you to rehydrate at a quicker pace than regular water or other fluids. 

It is important to remember to choose a low-sugar option if you go the electrolytes route.

Often these drinks can have a large amount of sugar, which isn’t something you want to consume continually.

A good rule of thumb is to look for an option with as few ingredients as possible, in order to avoid artificial flavoring, color and other ingredients. 

In addition to these steps, you can always use a hydration calculator to be sure you are always getting the amount of hydration you need through your pregnancy.

Final Points About Dehydration And Headaches

Dehydration during pregnancy can be scary, especially since you are responsible for the life that is growing inside you. The dehydration headaches that accompany it can become downright unbearable. 

It is important to remember that a headache and thirst can be related. Find the treatment plan that works best for you and your situation, and be sure to take the proper precautions to combat having dehydration issues in the future. 

Rehydrate With U.Siip

For those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, drinking enough water to maintain proper hydration can be difficult.

After all, water is boring! Thankfully, there is a product that is designed especially for all stages of motherhood, tastes great, and is made without any artificial ingredients.

Meet U.Siip, a water enhancing drink mix formulated with four electrolytes and only 4g of organic cane sugar. U.Siip can help support your hydration needs, replenish electrolytes and make all that water a little less boring. 


Dehydration is a scary thing to encounter during pregnancy and even while breastfeeding.

With the vast amount of questions that come due to the precarious nature of the subject, we have compiled those more commonly asked below.

What is the fastest way to cure dehydration?

The quickest way to cure dehydration is by increasing your water intake and fluids, including those with electrolytes.

Doing this will help your body to begin replenishing its diminished fluid levels and allow it to start operating as necessary. 

Can a dehydration headache last for days?

When you are in the thick of it, you can find yourself considering how long does a dehydration headache last.

And the truth of the matter is that it can last for days, it is just dependent on the individual, their circumstances, and the level of dehydration they are experiencing.

It is crucial, especially while pregnant, to consult your physician for any headaches that seem to linger and won’t go away. 

Does drinking water help migraines?

Drinking water can help combat migraines by staying hydrated and help alleviate the pain associated with them. However, not all migraines are the same, and they can be caused by issues unrelated to dehydration. 

Although water consumption and appropriate fluid levels are essential regardless of any medical condition, finding a pain treatment plan with your doctor that best fits your needs is vital. 

What does a dehydration headache feel like?

A dehydration headache can take the form of many different pain types. For some individuals, it will come across like pressure in one part of their skull. For others, it will be a pain that seems to radiate in several parts of the head.

The most common way to know if you are experiencing a dehydration headache is if the pain worsens when moving around. This specific action can be a clear indicator of a dehydration headache.