D is for Dehydration

Pregnant women need more water because it is so crucial in the development of their baby and the condition of their amniotic fluid.  Water also helps the development of the placenta which is your baby’s life line.  Doctors recommend that pregnant women drink 8-12 glasses of water each day.  Avoiding caffeine can also help you stay hydrated.  During summer or regular exercise, you should try to drink closer to 12 glasses a day.  Morning sickness can also cause dehydration, so if you experience regular or intense bouts of morning sickness, you will have to work harder to stay properly hydrated. 

Some signs of dehydration during pregnancy are: overheating, dark urine, a sticky or dry mouth, sleepiness, thirst, headache, constipation, dizziness, and even Braxton Hicks contractions.  If you have any of these symptoms, you need to rest and hydrate right away.  If you fail to notice these mild symptoms, you may experience severe dehydration which can cause extreme thirst; dry mouth, lips, skin, and mucus membranes; confusion; extremely dark or no urine; sunken eyes; low blood pressure; hyperventilation; and fast heart rate.  If you experience these symptoms, go to the ER immediately for IV fluids at a minimum.

Dehydration can cause many problems during pregnancy.  These include neural tube defects in the baby, low amniotic fluid, birth defects, and premature labor.

If you are struggling to drink as much water as you should, make it a goal to drink at least one cup every hour; if you haven’t by the end of the hour, pause and drink it then.  If you are still struggling, ice chips and popsicles are tasty and fun ways to increase your water intake.  Flavoring your water can also help! 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it can be dangerous to over-hydrate. Over-hydration, or hyponatremia, can cause symptoms similar to dehydration.  Hyponatremia is rare and typically requires that you drink an extreme amount of water very quickly.  While staying hydrated is important, you should still be careful not to overdo it, try to stay around the recommended 8-12 glasses of water a day. 

If you have any questions about dehydration feel free to leave a comment.  Tune in next week as I blog about the letter E... E is for Exercise.