Dehydration during pregnancy can be harmful to the unborn baby and may cause unexpected miscarriage. Hence, it is necessary to know about its causes, warning signs, prevention, and remedies.
Dehydration is the excessive loss of fluids in the body, which leads to a severe illness. Dehydration during pregnancy usually happens in the first trimester, while the expecting mother is dealing with morning sickness. Due to this, she experiences nausea, vomiting, and is unable to keep much of anything she eats, including water. This deprives her body of essential nutrients, fluids, and vitamins, which she needs in order to stay healthy and keep the baby hydrated.
One of the biggest fear due to this condition is that it reduces the amount of amniotic fluid in the body, which causes the baby to lay against the uterus instead of floating in the amniotic fluid. Hence, this might lead to deformities of the baby’s arms, legs, and feet. During the second and third trimester, it can also cause premature labor, as the blood volume decreases and the level of oxytocin (the hormone responsible for contractions) increases. It can raise the body temperature that can lead to further complications, like heat exhaustion, muscle cramping, or other heat-related illnesses.
- Thirst is the first sign, which should not be ignored. A expecting mother should maintain a schedule of having at least one glass of water per hour.
- Due to low blood pressure, she may experience severe headaches, like migraines, dizziness, lightheadedness, or vertigo, especially while standing up, bending over, or kneeling.
- She may have an inability to urinate, or might have dark yellow urine with a strong odor due to prenatal vitamins.
- She may have a dry mouth, nose, and chapped lips.
- Weakness, nausea, and vomiting may be a regular affair.
- Skin gets dry and loses its elasticity.
The most beneficial treatment method is to drink water, but if it is caused by nausea, it is always recommended to talk to an obstetrician/gynecologist about the possible medications to combat the symptoms. If the dizziness, headache, weakness, or fatigue is severe, it becomes important to rehydrate the IV fluids in the body as early and safely as possible. Before drinking any electrolyte solutions (like Infalyte or Pedialyte) or sports drinks, the expecting mother should always consult her doctor for the necessary pros and cons of the drink.
The best way to prevent this condition is to drink enough water. A expecting mother should have at least 8 cups of water for herself and 24 cups of water a day for the baby, as the amniotic fluid is replaced at the rate of approximately 1 cup per hour. The water intake should be even more if she is out in the sun, traveling, or exercising. She can also try having water with a splash of lemon, lime, cranberry, or some other flavoring. The intake of caffeine, sodas, or processed fruit juices should be avoided, as they don’t rehydrate, but act as a diuretic substance.
Dehydration is considered to be the most prominent cause of fatigue in pregnant moms. They are more vulnerable to fatigue, since their energy levels tend to be low. Hence, keeping them hydrated is essential for a healthy and stress-free pregnancy.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.