As a pregnant woman, you will have a higher chance of getting dehydrated than other people. So, in order to keep yourself and your baby safe, it is of the utmost importance that you find and practice ways to beat dehydration during pregnancy.
Many of the causes of dehydration – such as the weather – are often outside of our control, but there are still some methods you can use to overcome this risk and keep your body hydrated.
If you fail to do this, the effects can be catastrophic as dehydration can be much more dangerous than you may think. So, in this article, we will be shedding some light on dehydration and what you can do to keep it at bay.
What Can Cause Dehydration During Pregnancy?
There are many environmental and bodily reasons for dehydration during pregnancy. Some of these can’t really be changed by us. However, even the causes that can’t be changed can still be counteracted. And this way, you can easily beat dehydration during pregnancy. But before that, we must first understand exactly what these causes are.
Morning sickness or pregnancy nausea, for example, is one of the main causes of dehydration during the first trimester. Another common factor is humidity and temperature. If your surroundings are very hot and dry, it will affect you too.
Other causes include fevers and other illnesses during pregnancy, as well as reduced intake of water.
How Can I Know That I Am Dehydrated?
Before we explore ways to beat dehydration during pregnancy, let us first go through the signs of dehydration in pregnancy.
The symptoms o dehydration during pregnancy (as well as otherwise) are:
- Fatigue, tiredness, lack of energy
- Extreme thirst
- Inability to sweat, even in extreme conditions
- Dry mouth and throat
- Infrequent urination
- Dark urine, etc.
After learning about these symptoms of dehydration during pregnancy, it is important to assess yourself regularly and ensure that you are not experiencing any of them. If you are experiencing the above symptoms, it is safe to assume that you are dehydrated and need to make some changes to your lifestyle.
Related Reading: Can I Drink Green Tea During Pregnancy?
If you experience them in extreme ways, it is time to consult a doctor to figure out the best way to move forward.
What Happens To You If You Are Dehydrated?
Needless to say, the human body needs water to survive. A pregnant woman, who is responsible for not one but two lives, requires a lot more water and assorted minerals than other people. When they do not receive this water, or when they lose the water they have, the side effects can spell disaster for both the woman and her baby.
Some of these side effects include:
- Extreme nausea and dizziness – This is both a symptom and a side effect of dehydration during pregnancy and otherwise also. Most pregnant women already suffer from morning sickness. Having to go through more nausea and severe dizziness on top of that is not only terribly inconvenient but can also lead to dangerous situations
- Lowers breast milk production – Dehydration causes a severe lack of essential minerals and electrolytes. These are needed for healthy and sufficient breast milk production. So, dehydration will result in you not producing enough milk for when your baby is ready to be welcomed into this world.
- Urinary tract infection – Pregnant women are already at higher risks of UTI and other urine-related issues. Dehydration increases this risk and is known to be a common cause of urinary tract infection during pregnancy.
- Preterm labour – The hormone Oxytocin is necessary for uterine contractions that lead to labor. It increases as the volume of blood decreases. Dehydration causes a decrease in the volume of blood, and therefore, sometimes leads to preterm labor.
8 Ways To Beat Dehydration During Pregnancy?
Now that you are pretty familiar with what exactly dehydration is, and how it can affect you, it is time to learn the methods you can adopt to prevent it. Most of these are fairly easy, so you don’t have to worry about having to adopt difficult methods.
So, without further ado, here are a few ways to beat dehydration during pregnancy.
1. To beat dehydration during pregnancy, drink more water
Just increasing your intake of water and fluids is easily the cheapest and fastest way to cure dehydration. So if you are already facing dehydration, it is a great way to recover from dehydration during pregnancy. Other than being an effective cure, it is also a great way to avoid dehydration entirely.
It has been suggested that pregnant women need to drink at least eight to twelve glasses of water per day. Drinking this healthy and sufficient amount of water daily can do wonders for your hydration and replenish the fluids and electrolytes that you lose.
Sometimes though, drinking a lot of plain water can get pretty dull and tedious. A great way to motivate yourself to hydrate is to add a bit of flavor to your water. Add a squeeze of lemon to your glass, or put a couple of mint leaves in it.
Drinking sparkling water instead of regular water will also give you that little bit of fizz you need to drink more.
All of this can do wonders to help beat dehydration during pregnancy.
2. Avoid caffeinated food products
So, you should probably say no to that nice big cup of cappuccino.
Caffeine intake is already on thin ice when it comes to pregnancy. Exceeding the suggested daily amount can increase the risk of birth defects and other health issues for your baby. It can also make your whole pregnancy a rather unpleasant ordeal.
Related Reading: What Teas Are Safe To Drink While Pregnant?
In addition to all of that, caffeine also increases the chances of you experiencing dehydration. This is because caffeine has a diuretic effect on your body. This means it can cause you to urinate more often. So, while it doesn’t exactly cause dehydration on its own, it can increase your chances of losing more fluids and electrolytes via urination.
To ensure that you do not get dehydrated during pregnancy, limit your caffeine consumption, or better still, abstain from it.
3. Avoid alcohol
This will probably be no news to most expecting women. Just about everyone has heard of the “no alcohol during pregnancy” rule. Alcohol can cause a litany of problems during pregnancy, such as birth defects, miscarriage, and more.
But did you know that avoiding alcohol is also a good way to beat dehydration during pregnancy?
Related Reading: 10 Drinks To Avoid During Pregnancy
Alcohol impedes the production of a hormone called Vasopressin, which is responsible for the body’s ability to hold on to water. So drinking alcohol affects the body’s ability to retain water and also has a diuretic effect.
4. Keep yourself hydrated by eating such foods
Wondering how to keep yourself hydrated during pregnancy? Some foods help to replenish your body and keep it hydrated, while also being very tasty. This includes several fresh fruits and also some leafy greens. A few examples are:
Other hydrating foods include popsicle sticks, yogurt, soup, and more.
5. Eat ginger
Hyperemesis gravidum is an aggressive and extreme form of morning sickness that often lasts throughout the whole pregnancy. Many women suffer from it. It can make it almost impossible to even drink water and it causes loss of fluids and electrolytes at an alarming rate, thereby causing dehydration.
This can be an issue even if you do not have this condition, as morning sickness and nausea still affect most women. And it can be quite difficult to stay hydrated while vomiting during pregnancy.
According to studies, a good way to treat this is to use the root of ginger. The root of ginger has been known to effectively treat hyperemesis gravidum. This is because it helps reduce the chance of nausea. This, in turn, lowers the chance of you puking up any fluids you take.
6. Drink sufficient milk everyday
Drinking milk is a surprisingly good way to beat dehydration during pregnancy. It can even be said to be better than water because the body can retain it for longer!
In addition to keeping hydration at healthy levels, it is also a rich source of calcium, vitamin B, and other important nutrients that are essential for your baby’s development. So do not shy away from having a cup of milk, preferably without any additives and sugar.
Did you know it is a common practice to have saffron milk during pregnancy?
7. Avoid foods that are high on salt
While sodium is also a required electrolyte, you definitely do not need a lot of it.
During dehydration, the salt levels of our body are already high. So, eating too many salty foods, especially when you are already dehydrated, can spell disaster.
8. Moisturize your skin
This may be surprising. But believe it or not, making sure your outside is hydrated as well as your inside is an important way to beat dehydration during pregnancy.
So, moisturize your skin around twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, and if you are going out, make sure to wear sunscreen. Keep your skin healthy and you will be happy with the results. This is perhaps one of the simplest ways to have a glowing skin during pregnancy.
Dehydration In Pregnancy – When To Go To The Hospital
Of course, it is best to keep in frequent contact with your doctor throughout pregnancy, but there some cases when you need special treatment. There are times when you need the special attention of your doctor, and sometimes, a visit to the hospital.
Dehydration is usually pretty mild and can be treated at home, with the help of the above methods. But sometimes, it isn’t quite so easy to beat dehydration during pregnancy.
If none of the above methods work, and your symptoms go from bad to worse, it is time to visit the hospital and consult your doctor. They might give you electrolyte supplements to nourish you and help cure dehydration. If there is an underlying cause or preexisting illness, they can find it and treat it.
Since dehydration often presents itself in a mild fashion, many people underestimate its danger and ignore it. This can be catastrophic and have very harmful effects on yourself and your baby.
It is important to increase your intake of water when you are pregnant, as pregnant people require more fluids than others. Sometimes, however, this can be difficult due to issues such as morning sickness and extreme nausea.
In such cases, there are still other ways to keep yourself safe from dehydration.
If you are not able to drink water properly, see a doctor immediately and discuss ways to keep yourself nourished. If you follow these suggestions and pay attention to your body’s needs, there is no reason why you can’t have a happy, healthy, hydrated pregnancy!