Dehydration during pregnancy can be a serious condition, requiring hospitalization and IV fluid treatment to prevent sever trauma to mother and baby. This condition is common for the same reasons it is common in people who aren’t pregnant (insufficient fluid intake, excessive sweating, etc) but is more pronounced during pregnancy, mainly due to morning sickness. The nausea that comes with morning sickness may even prevent women from feeling thirst at all; further contributing to dehydration.

Importance of staying hydrated

Dehydration has multiple risks, including the risk of low amniotic fluid. This can cause serious issues; low amniotic fluid early in pregnancy can lead to birth defects, miscarriage, preterm birth, and labor complications. Amniotic fluid provides cushioning and protection for baby during pregnancy, and also assists with development of many of the baby’s systems.

Pregnant women need to take in more fluids than people who are not pregnant, because water plays such a key role in the healthy development of the baby. Water helps form the placenta and amniotic sac, so pregnant women must stay hydrated throughout gestation.

A few signs and symptoms of dehydration are:
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry, chapped lips
  • Dark or discolored urine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Fainting
  • Confusion severe headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sunken eyes
  • Pale, cool, dry skin
  • Prolonged skin recoil

Dehydration during pregnancy can also lead to maternal overheating (which can cause neural tube defects), or low breast milk production. If you experience low milk production, you may want to try breast pumping to increase your milk supply.

Breastfeeding & dehydration

Power pumping is a common way to increase milk production; however, while breastfeeding it is also important to stay hydrated. Breast feeding can cause your body to burn a few hundred extra calories per day, which means you will need to drink a lot of water and stay on top of your nutrition.

Remember these tips to stay hydrated throughout your entire pregnancy:
  • Drink at least a gallon of water a day
  • If you’re nauseous, try chewing on ice chips throughout the day to get the water you need without upsetting your stomach
  • Be sure to stay cool, especially during the summer. Getting too hot can increase your risk of dehydration