by Kaleen Richards, CNM, ARNP
Tree of Life Birth And Gynecology
Did you know pregnant women need at least 64 ounces of water daily otherwise, you run the risk of dehydration? This can lead to heat-related problems such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke – and for some expectant mothers – preterm labor.
Good hydration is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy and postpartum period. Water flushes waste products from the cells and aids in liver and kidney function for both mom and the baby. During pregnancy, water is also needed for the body’s expansion as mom’s blood volume increases significantly. Insufficient water intake can be a factor in constipation, preterm labor and miscarriage. Even slight dehydration can cause or contribute to fatigue. Proper hydration is also important for adequate breast milk production and flow.
In the first trimester, dehydration is most commonly caused by morning sickness. If the woman is unable to keep down any liquids, dehydration can occur quickly. When morning sickness is severe and unable to be controlled, the pregnant woman may be admitted to the hospital for IV fluids. Later in the pregnancy, dehydration is most likely caused by inadequate fluid intake throughout the day and easily corrected by drinking more liquids. Sweating, whether due to exercise or the hot summer temperatures, can also be responsible for dehydration.
In order to get proper water consumption in pregnancy, try buying a 24-ounce reusable, PBA-free container and set goals of drinking 3 per day. Fill a pitcher with the amount of liquids you want to drink during the day and keep it near you or at your desk. Adding an Emergen-C three times a week will change up the flavor and provide vitamins and electrolytes. Red Raspberry Leaf tea has been proven to tone the uterus prior to delivery and can be made hot or cold and contains no caffeine.
The signs and symptoms of dehydration range from minor to severe and include:
• Increased thirst
• Dry mouth and swollen tongue
• Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
• Inability to sweat
• Decreased urine output. Urine color may indicate dehydration. If urine is concentrated and deeply yellow or amber, you maybe dehydrated.
Originally published May 1, 2012