When you’re pregnant, you’re eating for two, but you’re also drinking for two. It should come as no surprise that hydration is important during pregnancy. In fact, making sure you get your daily H20 fix is even more important when you’re expecting.
We’ll explain the benefits to staying hydrated, how much you need to drink, what to look out for during pregnancy and how to make sure you get your daily fix of healthy, safe water.
Table of Contents
- Overwhelming Evidence Why Water is Essential During Pregnancy
- What to Watch Out for During Your First Trimester
- What to Watch Out for During Your Second Trimester and Beyond
- Sign and Symptoms of Dehydration During Pregnancy
- How to Get Your Daily Fix of Water
Overwhelming Evidence Why Water is Essential During Pregnancy
Water is the fuel that will keep your body going and your baby growing. Here’s why water is so important:
Water Delivers Nutrients to Your Baby
From the nutrients in your food to the vitamins in your prenatal vitamin, water helps deliver essential nutrients to your growing baby.
Water helps your body absorb nutrients into the cells and transports vitamins, hormones and minerals to blood cells. Those nutrient-rich blood cells make their way to the placenta and the fetus.
If you don’t drink enough water, your body won’t be able to absorb the nutrients your baby needs.
Water Keeps Your Body Functioning Optimally
A healthy mom is better able to cope with the changes of pregnancy and grow a healthy baby. Water serves as a protectant for your tissues, joints and spinal cord. It also helps flush out toxins and keeps things “moving” to prevent constipation.
Additionally, water helps regulate your body temperature and prevents dehydration, which can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness and fatigue.
Water Ward Off Heartburn UTIs
Indigestion and heartburn are really common during pregnancy, but drinking enough water can help ease the discomfort.
Staying hydrated can also help ward off UTIs, which are also common during pregnancy.
Water Helps Prevent Constipation and Hemorrhoids
Not only are you eating for two when you’re pregnant, but you’re also excreting for two. That means your body will have more waste to get rid of every day.
Water aids in digestion, but it also helps move things along the digestive path. H20 dissolves waste products and helps the body flush them out through the kidneys.
Constipation is common during pregnancy, but water helps in this department. Drinking enough water can also keep hemorrhoids at bay, as you won’t have the constipation pressure that causes them in the first place.
Water Helps Fight Fatigue, Swelling, Headaches and Overheating
Your body runs in overdrive during pregnancy, which can really crank up your internal thermostat. But if you’re drinking enough water, your cooling system should be running smoothly and the heat should be easier to handle.
Ample amounts of fluid will also fight fatigue and keep headaches at bay. Exhaustion and headaches are the two first signs of dehydration.
On top of all of this, water helps the body flush out excess sodium, which can minimize swelling in the feet or ankles.
What to Watch Out for During Your First Trimester
The first trimester of pregnancy is one of the most worrisome, as the threat of a miscarriage is much higher.
During the first trimester, dehydration poses risks to both the mother and the baby.
Effects on the Mother
Most moms will experience morning sickness at some point during pregnancy. Unfortunately, the loss of fluids can lead to dehydration, which can create a problematic cycle.
The last thing you feel like doing is drinking water when you feel nauseous, but water is the best thing for you.
Dehydration can have more significant consequences when you’re pregnant, and may lead to you having to be hospitalized for IV fluid administration.
Depending on the severity of the dehydration, it can also cause spotting during pregnancy. Dehydration causes muscle stiffness, which can cause your baby’s sac to break from the uterus. When this happens, it can cause spotting.
If your spotting is caused by dehydration, drink water, avoid performing any strenuous physical activity, and call your doctor.
Effects on the Baby
Dehydration also affects the baby in a number of ways. If the body is running low on fluids, that means the amniotic fluid supply will suffer.
Lack of fluids will have a direct effect on the baby’s growth.
Dehydration and lack of amniotic fluids can also cause the fetus to lie against the uterus instead of floating in the sac. This can lead to deformation of the feet and hands.
What to Watch Out for During Your Second Trimester and Beyond
The second trimester is when your baby’s growth starts ramping up, which means water becomes more important than ever from here on out.
When the body is dehydrated during pregnancy, blood volume decreases and levels of oxytocin increase. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for contractions.
Simply put, dehydration can lead to premature birth.
Dehydration also raises the body temperature, which can lead to lead to heat stroke or heat exhaustion, fever, UTIS, muscle cramps and other heat-related issues.
Sign and Symptoms of Dehydration During Pregnancy
If you’re feeling thirsty, your body is already mildly dehydrated. Symptoms can quickly escalate if you don’t take steps to rehydrate quickly.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dark yellow urine that has a strong odor. Clear urine means that you’re properly hydrated.
- Maternal overheating is a sign that your body is having trouble regulating its temperature.
- Headaches and migraines, which is a prominent symptom of dehydration.
- Lightheadedness, dizziness or vertigo. These symptoms appear when standing, bending over and kneeling due to a drop in blood pressure.
- Chapped lips and a swollen tongue.
- Nausea and vomiting with cramping and abdominal pain.
- Braxton-Hicks contractions.
- Dry nose, mouth and skin.
Symptoms of moderate dehydration, which may require medical attention, include:
- Lack of concentration
- Urinary tract infection
Mild dehydration can typically be treated at home, but when lack of fluids becomes a severe problem, medical attention must be sought immediately.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, get medical attention immediately:
- Weak pulse
- Blood in the stool
- Rapid heartbeat
- Persistent vomiting
- No urge to urinate for more than eight hours
In cases of severe dehydration, your doctor may prescribe intravenous therapy, which immediately restores essential fluids and nutrients in the body.
How to Get Your Daily Fix of Water
Dehydration is common during pregnancy, but it’s preventable and typically treatable at home. The good news? It’s easier than you think to keep your body hydrated.
There are many things you can do to prevent dehydration.
While it’s important to make sure that you’re drinking enough water, you also want to make sure that you’re not drinking too much too quickly. Drinking large amounts of water at one time can put a strain on your kidneys.
Avoid drinking coffee, tea and other beverages with caffeine. Aside from being unhealthy for your baby (your little one cannot process caffeine), caffeine also acts a diuretic, which dehydrates the body. Diuretics increase your urine output, depleting your body of more fluids.
Additionally, you’ll want to avoid engaging in strenuous exercise and spending too much time in hot weather. Both of these will increase your body’s heat production, contributing to dehydration.
How to Get Your Daily Fix of H20
Need a little help getting your daily dose of water? Use these tips to make sure you stay properly hydrated.
It’s easy to forget to drink water, but if you come prepared, you’ll find it easier to stay on track. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times, and refill it at lunch. Sip throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Refilling your water bottle throughout the day will also help you keep track of how much water you’re drinking. If you need a little more direction, you can use a water bottle that’s marked to show how much you’ve drank.
Start the Day Off Right
Instead of getting up and immediately starting your daily routine, make it a point to drink a glass of water as soon as you get out of bed. After sleeping for eight hours, your body will be in need of fluids. Drinking a tall glass of water will help you start the day off right.
Also, make it a point to drink a glass of water with each meal.
Use Technology to Help You Stay on Track
Your smartphone is always at your hip. Take advantage of it and use it to help you keep track of your daily water intake.
There are many free apps that can help you set a goal (or suggest a goal) and help you track your progress.
Make Water More Interesting
While plain H20 is best, you can add flavorings to make your water a little more interesting. Lemon or ginger slices are great, but you can also add fruit, like strawberries or kiwis. Many people also love the taste of cucumber water.
Also, remember that other drinks, like milk and juice, count towards you daily hydration needs. Smoothies, juices and soups also help you stay hydrated, so can switch up your routine and make things interesting.