Many health struggles can arise, such as dehydration during pregnancy, which can be very dangerous.
To help you understand how to prevent dehydration during pregnancy, spot the symptoms and what to do if there are signs of dehydration in pregnancy, here’s some handy info we have put together just for you:
How Much Water Should You Drink During Pregnancy?
According to pregnancy and baby loss charity Tommy’s you should be consuming about 8-12 glasses of at least 200ml of water a day.
That includes decaffeinated drinks, pregnancy suitable herbal teas, sugar-free squash and plant based/ semi-skimmed/ 1% milks.
Eating water-heavy fruits and veggies like cucumber and watermelon can also boost your hydration levels.
There are lots of ways to include more fluid in your diet including:
- Eating lots of fresh fruit and veg
- Keeping a measured water bottle with you so you know how much you’ve consumed
- Getting a sugar-free cordial you enjoy to encourage more water consumption
- Setting drinking reminders on your smartphone or a fitness device
- Drinking more if you notice that your urine is in the ‘drink more’ zone as indicated by the chart in this NHS article
- Drinking more if it is very hot or you move around more than usual
Why Is Dehydration During Pregnancy Dangerous?
When you are pregnant you need lots of liquid so that your body is able to make amniotic fluid, make more blood, take nutrients to your baby, boost your digestive tract function and to help flush out extra bodily waste and build new tissues and cells.
Some serious complications of dehydration during pregnancy are:
- Kidney stones
- Problems with foetal development
- Amniotic fluid is lower
The complications above can lead to additional complications such as UTI’s potentially causing preterm labour.
What Can Cause Dehydration During Pregnancy?
Dehydration occurs when we lose more water/ fluids than we take in at the time. So if you do a workout, for example, and you sweat a lot and then you don’t drink water afterwards, you could become dehydrated.
What happens when this occurs is that standard bodily functions struggle to happen. You might get constipated, you could feel sluggish, you might get a headache. According to Healthline, you can get mild or severe dehydration and severe dehydration can be really dangerous regardless of whether you are pregnant or not.
When it comes to dehydration during pregnancy, the risks of being dehydrated grow because there are more ways for you to get dehydrated.
On top of all the usual risk factors like not drinking enough water or, being in hot weather pregnant people are more at risk of pregnancy because they can be more at risk of:
- The body having to work harder during normal activities because of the extra weight being carried, causing more sweating
- Excessive sweating caused by numerous pregnancy conditions
- General hormonal and physical changes of pregnancy
- Morning sickness/ pregnancy sickness
- Higher temperature caused by hormonal flushes
- Maternal overheating which means your body is struggling to regulate heat because you haven’t taken enough water in
Sometimes the combination of pregnancy symptoms and not acting quickly enough to replace lost fluid can quickly cause dehydration during pregnancy to become severe.
The Signs Of Dehydration During Pregnancy
There are some general signs of dehydration during pregnancy that you can look out for that are a warning sign you need to drink more water including:
- Chapped lips
- A dry mouth
- Feeling dizzy
- Feeling slippy
- Braxton-Hicks (common in the 2nd or 3rd trimester)
If you have these symptoms you can act quickly and prevent your dehydration getting any worse. Speak to your doctor, rest and drink plenty of fluids.
It may be that you are experiencing severe dehydration which usually occurs because you haven’t responded to the signs of mild dehydration.
However, it is important to remember that severe dehydration can occur in a way that is out of your control.
Here are some common symptoms of overhydration:
- Feeling very thirsty
- Smelly and dark urine
- Feeling faint
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Feeling like you have dryness everywhere including your skin, eyes, nose, mouth and genitals
- No urine or very small amounts of urine when you do go to pee
- Feeling irritable and grumpy
- Feeling a little foggy in your thinking
- Feeling clumsy
- Shrivelled skin on the finger pads
- Skin that stays pinched if you pinch it
If these symptoms are present you need to get yourself to emergency medical care. You may need IV hydration and further medical help.
Signs You Should Speak To Your Doctor About Pregnancy Dehydration
There are some signs that you may be at particular risk of dehydration during pregnancy beyond the risks of a standard person, and the risks of being a pregnant person.
For example; a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum can occur which is where you get excessive morning sickness.
Morning sickness occurs in about 8 out of 10 pregnant women, and in around 1-3 in every 100 pregnant women hyperemesis gravidarum occurs. If you have morning sickness you are at risk of dehydration, but with HG you can be incredibly unwell and it could even put your baby at risk
Some of the symptoms of HG include:
- Dehydration (see symptoms above)
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Severe vomiting/ nausea
- Losing weight
You can suffer with HG for much longer than standard morning sickness, far beyond 20 weeks and possibly up until the end of your pregnancy.
For this reason it is so important to let your doctor know about any tricky symptoms you are having with your pregnancy as soon as you can.
Whether you have HG or other signs you might struggle with dehydration during pregnancy, you need medical advice and support to make sure you and your baby stay safe.
Seeing Signs Of Dehydration In Pregnancy? Speak To Your Doctor
If you are at all concerned about dehydration during pregnancy it is important to speak to your OB-GYN for more advice sooner rather than later.
Dehydration might seem like an easy problem to solve, but it can so quickly cause real issues.
It’s so important to be aware of it and work on preventing it/ treating it so you can keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible during this challenging time.