Our body loses water on a regular basis through sweat, urine, stools and even through our breath. This loss of water is also accompanied by a depletion of salts and electrolytes. While this is normal, when the body loses water faster than you take it in, it leads to dehydration.
The importance of water in our survival cannot be overlooked. However, this very liquid plays a doubly important role in pregnant mommies. Dehydration can have severe effects on the body and should not be ignored. Chronic, untreated dehydration can also result in death.
Pregnancy & Dehydration: Know The Facts
Water plays a tremendously important role in the healthy development of the baby. Apart from being vital for the production of blood and regulating body temperature, water is also crucial for the formation of the placenta and amniotic sac.
However, pregnant moms often struggle with proper hydration during pregnancy. The hormonal and physiological changes which are common in pregnant women speed up the loss of fluids and electrolytes. Another important cause of dehydration during pregnancy is morning sickness, which affects about 70 to 80 percent of pregnant mothers.
Morning sickness with its trademark symptoms of vomiting, excessive urination and increased sweating results in excessive loss of water. However nausea, which is a prime symptom of morning sickness, often discourages the mother from drinking water voluntarily. This makes it difficult to replace lost nutrients and replenish the body’s water reservoirs.
Symptoms Of Dehydration
Our body gives us adequate and appropriate signals when there’s an emergency. Consult your doctor if you spot these symptoms:
Dehydration During Pregnancy
Water is an excellent source of various essential minerals and nutrients, which provide nutritional support to the baby. Dr. Fransico Arredondo at RMA of Texas quotes, “Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to serious pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor.”
Dr. Brett Worly, OB/GYN at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, adds, “Dehydration can lead to oligohydramnios, which is an insufficient quantity of amniotic fluid. A deficiency in the amniotic fluid can make the fetus lie against the uterus rather than floating in the sac. This can lead to arm and leg deformities or other birth defects.”
How To Handle Dehydration During Pregnancy
Dr. Arredondo at RMA of Texas, says, “Managing dehydration and preventing it can be easy if you listen to your body. The simplest way to combat dehydration is drinking enough water to replace the fluids that you might have lost.”
Dr. Brett Worly adds, “If you don’t like drinking plain water, try adding a wedge of lemon or lime or a little sugar-free squash for extra flavor. Avoid strenuous activities and stay away from hot environments.”
Speak to your OB/GYN, who will be able to help you in determining how much water you are required to drink every day depending on your body’s demands.
What To Avoid
- Caffeine is a known diuretic and should be avoided. However, if you cannot live without your morning cup of java, make sure you drink no more than 200mg per day (2 cups of instant coffee or 2 mugs of tea).
- Completely avoid alcohol during pregnancy, as it not only dehydrates you but also affects your baby. Instead, load on hydrating foods such as watermelons, cucumbers, tomatoes, and grapes.
What To Take Into Consideration When Battling Dehydration During Pregnancy
Lastly, if you think dehydration is hitting you, do not drink too much water at once. This will only make the condition worse by further diluting the already inadequate levels of salts, minerals, and sugar. Instead go slow and take regular sips of an oral rehydration solution. Speak to your doctor at once if the dehydration is of a chronic nature.