Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to serious complications, including neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor. These risks, in turn, can lead to birth defects due to a lack of water and nutritional support for your baby.
- Dehydration in pregnancy: how much water to drink?
- Other ways to avoid dehydration
- Symptoms of dehydration during pregnancy
- Hyperemesis pregnant
Read also: What water to drink when pregnant
Dehydration is the result of your body losing water faster than you consume it. When you are pregnant you need more water than the average person, at least 8-12 glasses a day. Water plays an important role in your baby's healthy development, for example by helping to form the placenta, which is what your baby relies on to receive nutrients during pregnancy. Water is also used to form the amniotic sac later in pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to avoid dehydration during pregnancy.
Avoiding products that contain caffeine is a good idea, as caffeine can increase urine output, thus leading to dehydration.
Another way to prevent dehydration is avoid activities that can cause overheating, such as strenuous exercise or spending a lot of time in a warm environment. Exercise is considered healthy for moms-to-be, but strenuous exercise and a lack of water intake can lead to dehydration.
A common sign of dehydration is "maternal overheating". Having adequate water in your system will help regulate your body heat; however, if you don't drink enough water during pregnancy, you can be prone to overheating. One sign of being well hydrated is having a light urine color, as opposed to dark yellow.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- feeling thirsty
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- don't pee much
- have dark yellow and strong smelling pee
Illness in pregnancy (sometimes called morning sickness) is common. About 8 out of 10 pregnant women feel sick (nausea), get sick (vomit), or both during pregnancy. This doesn't just happen in the morning.
For most women, this gets better or stops completely around weeks 16-20, although for some women it can last longer.
Some pregnant women suffer from very severe nausea and vomiting. They may get sick many times a day and be unable to withhold food or drink, which can impact their daily life.
This excessive nausea and vomiting are known as hyperemesis gravidarum and often require hospital treatment. If you can't hold back food, tell your midwife or doctor or contact the hospital as soon as possible. There is a risk that you may become dehydrated, and your midwife or doctor can make sure you are getting the right treatment.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is much worse than normal pregnancy nausea and vomiting.
Signs and symptoms:
- prolonged and severe nausea and vomiting
- being dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include, feeling thirsty, tired, dizzy or lightheaded, not peeing much, and having dark yellow, strong smelling pee
- weight loss
- low blood pressure (hypotension) when standing up
Unlike normal pregnancy sickness, HG may not improve within 16-20 weeks. It may not completely resolve until the baby is born, although some symptoms may improve by around 20 weeks.
See your family doctor or midwife if you have severe nausea and vomiting. Getting help early can help you avoid dehydration and weight loss. There are other conditions that can cause nausea and vomiting, and your doctor will need to rule them out first.
It is not known what causes hyperemesis gravidarum, or why some women have it and others don't. Some experts believe it is linked to hormonal changes in the body that occur during pregnancy.
There is some evidence that it works in families, so if you have a mother or sister who had HG in pregnancy, you may be more likely to take it on your own.
Article sources: NHS; American Pregnancy
- drinking pregnancy
- water in pregnancy
- wellness in pregnancy