Dehydration in pregnancy can be a real problem. It is especially in the first and third trimesters. That’s because your body needs more fluids to function better when pregnant.
And, let’s face it, pregnant women are often short on time and energy, making it tough to stay hydrated. So, how risky is dehydration in pregnancy? What to do to prevent it? Read along to learn more.
What Is Dehydration in Pregnancy?
Dehydration in pregnancy is a severe condition that can lead to other complications. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than it takes in. It’s different from being thirsty.
There are two types of dehydration: acute and chronic.
Acute dehydration is a medical emergency that can occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women with twins or triplets are more likely to become dehydrated especially if they have morning sickness or preeclampsia. Women who are breastfeeding are also at increased risk of dehydration.
In severe cases, hospitalisation may be necessary. With prompt treatment, most women fully recover from acute dehydration. And this is without any long-term effects on their health or the health of their baby.
Chronic dehydration during pregnancy is common. And it has the potential to become a dangerous condition. Many pregnant women don’t drink enough water throughout the day. This can be a problem because they need extra fluids to stay hydrated.
It can lead to many problems. It includes preterm labour, low birth weight, and gestational diabetes. Studies have shown that as many as 1 in 3 pregnant women has chronic dehydration.
What Are the Symptoms of Dehydration in Pregnancy?
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Dehydration in pregnancy can be a severe condition. Know the symptoms so you can get help up front.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, get medical attention right away:
Dry mouth and throat are two of the most common symptoms of dehydration during pregnancy. Dehydration is a condition that occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. It can cause symptoms like dry mouth or a dry tongue.
Your skin might feel less elastic than usual when you press it gently with your fingers. Your lips might seem dry and cracked or have a white coating.
Thirst is a sign of dehydration. Because your body loses fluids through urination and perspiration.
Nausea is a common symptom of dehydration in pregnancy. It’s an effect of fluid shortage and electrolytes. Hormonal changes and increased blood flow to your uterus can cause it.
Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of dehydration in pregnant women. There are several factors that can lead to headaches. Including decreased blood flow to the brain, hormonal changes, and increased pain sensitivity.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration in pregnancy. Fatigue can feel like weakness or exhaustion. It may make it difficult to get through the day without needing a nap or rest break every so often. If this continues over several days or weeks, talk with your doctor.
Dehydration or electrolyte imbalance can cause muscle cramps. It can happen when you’re exercising or when you’re pregnant. The hormone increase during pregnancy causes your body to keep water. So you may not be as thirsty as you were before becoming pregnant.
You might also be sweating more because of hot flashes or night sweats. It leads to dehydration if you don’t consume enough fluids throughout the day.
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Swelling in Arms and Legs
Swelling in the arms and legs is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration in pregnancy.
Swelling in arms and legs is the effect of the buildup of fluid that causes your limbs to swell up. When you’re pregnant, this can happen when there isn’t enough water in your blood vessels. It means there isn’t enough blood flowing through them. And they need it to expand the right way under normal pressure.
When dehydrated, it makes sense that you’d want to go to the bathroom more often. But it’s not something we often think about when we’re pregnant. And yet, many women report that they have frequent toilet visits in their third trimester. This happens more than before pregnancy. Or even during early pregnancy (when they were drinking more water).
Find yourself going to the bathroom more than usual? Are you experiencing other symptoms like dizziness or lightheaded after standing up quickly? It can show low blood pressure. It’s a possible sign that your body is low on fluid levels and it’s dangerous.
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Dark yellow urine is a sign that your body isn’t getting enough fluids. Or has too much uric acid (uric acid comes from breakdown products of protein metabolism). It may occur if you have eaten foods high in purines (such as liver). Or if you have been losing blood through bleeding gums or vaginal discharge.
Dark yellow urine is also a sign of severe dehydration. So if this happens while you’re pregnant, call your doctor immediately!
One of the most common signs of dehydration in pregnancy is constipation. Not drinking enough water or eating foods without a lot of water makes it harder to have bowel movements.
How to Prevent Dehydration in Pregnancy?
Dehydration is one of the biggest concerns for pregnant women. During pregnancy, the body produces more blood and urine. It also increases the amount of liquid needed to keep the baby growing. It makes it more critical than ever to stay hydrated.
During pregnancy, you must drink at least ten glasses of water daily. If breastfeeding, you need even more—12 glasses per day. If you’re thirsty, it’s already too late!
Here are some tips to help prevent dehydration:
Drink plenty of water before going to bed so that your body has time to absorb it before sleeping. Make sure there’s always a glass of water next to your bedside table. And when you wake up in the middle of the night, you don’t have to get out of bed for a sip of water!
Drink a glass of water with every meal or snack throughout the day (not only at mealtime). It will help keep your energy levels up throughout the day. And help your digestive system work better by increasing saliva production, which aids digestion along!
You should drink about 2 quarts (16 cups) every day during pregnancy. You might find that you need more than that if you’re feeling thirsty; that’s normal!
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids during exercise sessions. Especially in hot weather conditions. You can use reusable water bottles that you can fill up at home or work.
Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Sugary Drinks
Avoid these drinks. They all make it harder for your body to absorb water from food or beverages. Instead, choose water with lots of healthy minerals like Vitamin C (orange juice) or potassium (banana smoothies).
Eat Plenty of Watery Foods
Eat food with high water content. Consume foods like fruits (especially citrus fruits) and vegetables (especially cucumbers). Choose soups and broths made from chicken or beef stock. Rather than bouillon cubes, plus whole grains like oatmeal.
Pregnant woman eating healthy foods
You should tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking. Especially if they’re diuretics or laxatives. These medications can cause excess urine production, which can lead to dehydration.
What Are the Treatments for Dehydration in Pregnancy?
The first step in treating dehydration during pregnancy is to drink more water. Your doctor may recommend taking an electrolyte supplement designed for pregnant women. You should also rest and avoid strenuous activity. If your symptoms persist despite these measures, contact your doctor immediately.
If you develop severe dehydration due to vomiting or diarrhoea, you may need intravenous fluids (IVs). A nurse or doctor does it at a hospital or clinic.
What Are the Complications of Dehydration in Pregnancy?
Dehydration can have a severe effect on your health and your baby’s development.
The most common complication of dehydration in pregnancy is preeclampsia. It is a condition that results in high blood pressure and fluid retention. It can be life-threatening for both mother and child. So getting treatment right away is important if you think you might have it.
Other possible complications are:
- Maternal Heart Failure
- Placental Abruption (where the placenta separates from the uterine wall).
- Decreased Immunity making it easier for you to catch an infection or illness
- Kidney Stones or Kidney Failure
In conclusion, your body must stay hydrated throughout pregnancy. It’s to prevent dehydration-related health risks. It is a good idea to keep a pitcher of water and a glass of water next to your bed. So you can always drink water during the night.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.