Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful stages of a woman’s life but also one of the most challenging. Right from mental and physical changes to a major change in your lifestyle, women undergo a lot. And that’s why it’s necessary that the expecting mum takes extremely good care of herself.
One of the more common problems that pregnant women experience, especially during the first trimester is morning sickness and dehydration. As your body is adapting to the rapid changes, these issues can make the pregnancy a tad difficult.
Most mums are usually active in their first trimester. But complications like nausea and vomiting caused by morning sickness can slow you down. It can also cause dehydration.
While mild dehydration can be treated quickly and reversed without any effect on the baby, severe dehydration is a major concern. It can harm the mother and the baby and requires immediate medical intervention.
That’s why women need to keep drinking electrolytes while pregnant, especially in humid countries like Singapore.
Why Do Women Need To Keep Drinking Electrolytes While Pregnant?
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There are a couple of reasons why pregnant woman need to consume electrolytes regularly.
- A majority of the pregnancy weight is water and expecting mums need to maintain proper fluid balance. The hormonal and physical changes of pregnancy can deplete fluids and electrolytes at a faster rate, which results in dehydration.
- A pregnant women’s body also has an increased water intake, which further makes it difficult to maintain the ideal fluid balance. Normally, the body requires about five to six litres of water to function properly. This measure increases to as much as nine litres in expecting mothers.
- Pregnant women also produce more blood volume, which in turn, requires more water to ensure the baby gets all the nutrients.
Symptoms Of Dehydration In Pregnant Women
Even if it’s your first pregnancy, trust your body to show signs of dehydration that should make you reach out for electrolytes immediately. Look out for these signs of dehydration during pregnancy:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Maternal overheating due to increased body temperature
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Dark urine
- Sunken eyes
- Irritable nature
Are You Opting For Oral Rehydration Solution During Pregnancy?
While water is the best way to replenish lost body fluids during pregnancy, it can’t entirely cure dehydration, especially in severe cases. That’s why it’s necessary to add electrolytes along with water.
One of the best ways to consume electrolytes is by taking Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS).
ORS contains oral electrolytes and is loaded with sodium, potassium, sugar, and more, and a quick to replenish lost electrolytes in the body. It is safe to consume by people of all ages, and doctors do recommend it to pregnant women as well.
In fact, you can order ORS powder through your pharmacy or even an online store. All you need to do is mix it with water and consume a glass or two, as recommended by your gynaecologist.
For those not too fond of the bland taste, there are now different flavours available as well. A pre-mix ORS juice box is also a great option if you are travelling.
Choosing ORS Over Sports Drinks
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A common misconception is that sports drinks replenish electrolytes. However, please remember that neither the ads selling sports drinks claim they have electrolytes nor does the bottle say so.
Instead, sports drinks are identical to cordials with a bit of added salt and lots of colouring that makes for attractive packaging.
While those may work for teenagers and people looking for a quick cool drink that’s not aerated, it’s a strict no-no for pregnant women.
Another natural source to replenish electrolytes is having coconut water that has potassium, sodium, and manganese. It’s completely natural but isn’t high on electrolyte function and the amount can vary as the coconut matures.
5 Benefits Of Drinking Electrolytes While Pregnant
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1. Reduces swelling in limbs
Swelling is a common problem during pregnancy and one of the reasons causing it is due to fluid not being transported to the limbs. Electrolytes help increase fluid levels in the body that can reduce swelling.
2. Eases constipation
While pregnant mums are asked to increase fibre in their diet, they can still have constipation. It’s wise to drink electrolytes during this time to restore fluid balance in the body.
3. Controls blood pressure
Electrolytes and magnesium help regulate blood pressure that can fluctuate a lot during pregnancy.
Another side effect of dehydration are haemorrhoids that can be avoided by increasing the intake of electrolytes.
Increasing your water and electrolyte intake after giving birth also helps with breastfeeding. It is related to a healthy supply of milk and also reduces the chances of post-birth constipation.
As a thumb rule, always make it a point to store electrolyte powder at home or in your bag at all times. This is particularly necessary when you have morning sickness too often in the initial weeks of the pregnancy.
So when the dehydration symptoms arise, the expecting mum should begin taking ORS immediately.
Staying healthy is the first step towards experiencing a happy pregnancy. That’s why mums need to be extra cautious of their health and enjoy these nine months despite the challenges.
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