Dehydration is a condition in which the body loses water faster than it is replenished. Dehydration can create issues to anyone regardless of age and gender. However, when dehydration takes place during pregnancy, it needs special care and attention. This is because water takes on a substantial part in the healthy fetal growth and advancement of the pregnancy. Therefore, if you experience dehydration during pregnancy, it is imperative to properly manage it. Continue reading to know the causes, symptoms, impacts, preventive measures and remedies for dehydration during pregnancy.
What Causes Dehydration During Pregnancy?
Getting dehydrated is quite easy during pregnancy. This is because there is increased utilization of water by the body in this period. Following are some causes that trigger dehydration during pregnancy:
- Increased blood volume: The blood volume increases by 50% during the pregnancy. Retaining fluid will therefore be more difficult and if sufficient replacement is not taking place, it increases the risk of dehydration during pregnancy.
- Nausea and vomiting: These two are companions of pregnancy, especially during the first trimester and can result in dehydration. This is mainly because if the mother is experiencing nausea or is continuously vomiting she will not be able to retain anything and may also develop aversion to food as well as any kind of fluid intake, resulting in dehydration.
- Amniotic fluid formation: During the initial months of pregnancy, for the formation of amniotic fluid, more water is utilized and if water intake is not proper, it may lead to dehydration.
- Reduced intake of fluid: Unlike the normal woman who requires up to eight glasses of water per day, a pregnant woman requires a minimum of 12 glasses per day. If water intake is not sufficient, there are increased chances of dehydration.
- Excessive sweating: Sweating excessively is common during the pregnancy. This results in getting rid of more water from the body. But if proper replenishment of water does not happen then it results in dehydration
- Weather: Hot weather and increased humidity causes excessive sweating and can lead to dehydration.
- Air conditioning: Spending a great deal of time in an air-conditioned room (at home or workplace) increases the risk of dehydration, as less moisture in the air increases the water loss from the lungs. This when clubbed with inadequate hydration triggers dehydration.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dehydration During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy watch out for the following signs which indicate dehydration:
- Feeling extremely thirsty is the primary indication of dehydration
- Dehydration triggers Braxton hick’s contractions. If you are experiencing this before the middle of the third trimester, it indicates dehydration
- Feeling dizzy while bending over indicates the fall in pressure due to dehydration
- Dry mouth and nose
- Chapped lips
- Urine with strong odor and dark yellowish color
- Constipation may also indicate dehydration
- Decrease in the frequency of urination
- Persisting headache
- Skin losing elasticity
- Urinary tract infections
What Are The Risks Of Dehydration During Pregnancy?
During the first trimester of pregnancy, dehydration can lead to:
- Severe nausea and dizziness: Just like morning sickness leads to dehydration, in the same way dehydration causes nausea. You may not able to drink anything when you are nauseous. This leads to more dehydration followed by severe nausea. It becomes a vicious cycle. More often, the mother has to be admitted to the clinic for IV fluids.
- Reduced level of amniotic fluid: As during the initial months of pregnancy, the amniotic fluid formation is based on the fluid intake of the mother. If the mother experiences dehydration during this time, sufficient amniotic fluid is not produced. As a result the baby will stick to the uterine wall rather than float in the amniotic fluid sac. This increases the chances of physical deformation of the limbs of the baby.
- Effects the placental formation: The effects of dehydration on the electrolytes may affect the placental formation. This, in turn, increases the chances of fetal neural tube defects.
During the second and third trimester dehydration leads to:
- Premature labor: Dehydration is one of the significant cause of uterine contraction. This is because dehydration results in the reduction of the blood volume. When the volume of the blood decreases, the level of oxy toxin, the hormone responsible for the uterine contraction, increases. This increases the chances of preterm delivery.
- Increased muscle cramps: One of the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy is muscle cramps. These become severe due to the rise in the body temperature caused by dehydration.
- Fatigue: Already the pregnant women are susceptible to fatigue. Dehydration can make the pregnant woman to feel more fatigued.
- Increases the chances of UTI: Dehydration increases the chances of other pregnancy-related issues like urinary tract infection, which in turn triggers kidney infection and early labor.
How To Prevent Dehydration During Pregnancy?
It is important to take necessary steps to prevent dehydration during pregnancy:
- Drink lots of water: Drink plenty of water. Remember to sip water throughout the day rather than drinking big quantities at close intervals. If you find drinking plain water hard, you can add a lemon to flavor the water and make it more refreshing.
- Drink juices and soups: Including fruit juices, vegetable juices, soy milk and soups in the diet increases the fluid intake and also satisfies the nutritional requirements during pregnancy.
- Avoid caffeine: Avoid the intake of caffeine products and carbonated drinks, as it increases the frequency of urinating leading to dehydration.
- Avoid strenuous activities: Going out on warm humid days, performing strenuous exercises etc. results in excessive sweating and dehydration.
How To Handle Dehydration During Pregnancy?
More often dehydration can be managed by rehydration. If you are a victim of dehydration, all the preventive measures mentioned above should be followed. Along with that you can also take care of the following things in order to handle dehydration during pregnancy in a better way:
- Always carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go. Keep sipping. This way you can track the quantity of the water intake.
- If you are feeling nauseous, you may not be able to drink water, therefore talk to your doctor who make prescribe anti-nausea medications to keep dehydration at bay.
- Whenever you feel dizzy or have severe weakness, inform your doctor. You may need IV fluid to rehydrate yourself.