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14 Symptoms Of Dehydration During Pregnancy And Ways To Prevent It

Dehydration During Pregnancy

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Persistent thirstiness, light-headedness, dry skin and dry lips during pregnancy could mean you are dehydrated. If you are having these symptoms often, then it might impact your health. Therefore, you need to address the problem of dehydration as soon as possible.

MomJunction tells you about the effects of dehydration during pregnancy, how long it takes to recover, and the steps you need to avoid the problem.

How Much Water Should You Drink When Pregnant?

You need to drink eight to ten glasses of water every day (1). The quantity can include the beverages you consume but, ideally, your first option should be plain water. Fluids such as juice, milk, tea and coffee contain water and contribute to your fluid intake, but they also give you extra calories.

Your body needs extra water for performing additional functions during pregnancy.

What Causes Dehydration During Pregnancy?

Some of the common causes of dehydration during pregnancy are:

  1. Morning sickness: About 50% to 80% of pregnant women experience morning sickness. The condition appears during four to six weeks and peaks around 10 to 16 weeks. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, frequent urination and sweating. These symptoms will disappear by the time you reach second trimesters, but in some cases, women continue to have morning sickness beyond second trimester.

[ Read: Morning Sickness During Pregnancy ]

The symptoms of morning sickness result in the loss of fluids and electrolytes from your body, causing dehydration. Moreover, nausea will not allow you to take fluids, making it harder for the body to regain the lost water (2).

  1. Severe morning sickness, also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum: This rare condition affects around 2% of pregnant women, particularly in twin pregnancy (multifetal pregnancy). The symptoms, same as those of morning sickness, remain throughout your pregnancy. Hyperemesis symptoms also cause a severe loss of water and electrolytes. It leads to fever, associated with nausea and vomiting, causing excessive sweating and dehydration.
  1. Diarrhea: Hormonal changes, dietary habits and aversion to certain foods can lead to diarrhea, especially in the third trimester. This also results in excessive loss of fluids and electrolytes. Replenishing the body after diarrhea is critical.

[ Read: Diarrhea During Pregnancy ]

Some other factors that increase the risk of dehydration are:

  1. Lack of enough fluids: Your water intake level will depend on your trimester, activity level, weight, age, climate and the season. You will be more susceptible to dehydration during the warmer seasons.
  1. Air travel: Air in the cabin contains little moisture, and it can cause dehydration in your body. You should try to stay hydrated by drinking water when traveling. Airline rules may not allow carrying water bottles, but water is always available on the flight.
  1. Humidity: Hot weather and humidity make you sweat, thereby leading to dehydration.

[ Read: Overheating During Pregnancy ]

7. Vigorous exercise especially in warm weather: This could make you sweat more and, when coupled with warm weather, can lead to dehydration.

8. Fever: Body temperature that is higher than the normal could cause vomiting, loss of fluids and poses a high risk.

Signs And Symptoms Of Dehydration In Pregnancy

Once your body is depleted of water, it shows the dehydrated symptoms and signs. It is vital for you to recognize them.

  1. Thirst is the initial and the most unnoticed sign. Do not neglect if you are thirsty, listen to your body and drink water. Maintain a routine of drinking water often, at least one glass an hour.
  2. Dizziness, vertigo or lightheadedness, usually when standing, kneeling or bending over. It happens due to the drop in blood pressure because of dehydration.
  3. Headache, especially migraines, is another prominent symptom of dehydration.
  4. Dark yellow urine with a strong odor. Clear urine means you are hydrating yourself properly.
  5. Dry mouth, nose, and skin which has lost its elasticity.
  6. Swollen tongue and chapped lips.
  7. Vomiting and nausea associated with abdominal pain and cramps.

Severe dehydration symptoms could be:

8. Weakness

9. Lack of concentration

10. Constipation

11. Piles

12. Urinary tract infections

[ Read: Urinary tract infections During Pregnancy ]

Dehydration is a common problem that all of us experience. But can it lead to some serious complications during pregnancy?

What Are The Effects Of Dehydration During Pregnancy?

During the first trimester of pregnancy, dehydration might result in two risks:

Dehydration caused by morning sickness can lead to nausea, thus making the problem cyclic. When you feel nauseous, you do not feel like drinking more water and then get more nauseous. If a pregnant woman does not take enough fluids to avoid dehydration, she might have to be hospitalized for administering IV fluids.

During the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, dehydration can pose the risk of premature births. It is one of the reasons for premature contractions.

Treatment For Dehydration During Pregnancy

If you are experiencing dehydration symptoms, you can regain the lost fluids by consuming more water.

Water, herbal tea, and decaffeinated coffee are good options.

Fruit juices, soft drinks, milk, soups are acceptable but to a lesser extent than those above.

Say no to alcoholic beverages.

[ Read: Benefits of Coconut Water During Pregnancy ]

When To Call A Doctor?

If dehydration is mild, it can be treated at home. But, if the above remedies do not work and you start experiencing severe symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider without any delay.

Your healthcare provider may advise you to get hospitalized so that a comprehensive line of tests are conducted to understand the underlying cause. She may mostly prescribe intravenous therapy, which immediately replenishes your body with essential water and nutrients.

Preventing Dehydration During Pregnancy

Fatigue caused due to dehydration brings down the energy levels, making you feel dull and lethargic; to avoid this, make sure you drink enough water every day.

  • Drinking a cup of water (150-180 ml), for every one hour that you are awake, is an excellent way to get your daily quota of H2O.
  • If you are finding it difficult to drink plain water, try adding a few slices of lemon, cranberry, watermelon or orange to your everyday diet.
  • Liquids such as soups, juices, and smoothies also are a part of the daily water requirement for the body. So, if you find drinking plain water boring, drink them instead.
  • Avoid caffeine-related products, processed fruit juices and sodas as the ingredients can increase your urine output, causing dehydration.
  • Take extra care to keep yourself hydrated when performing strenuous exercises or spending a long time in hot weather.

If you are finding it tough to keep yourself hydrated, talk to your doctor and get the right advice.

Follow the preventive measures and dehydration remedies. If your dehydration is because of any above-mentioned risk factors, consult your healthcare provider or gynecologist.

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