Dehydration can be extremely problematic during pregnancy. Today we’re going to talk about the importance of hydration. Why you want to stay hydrated and how to best do it!
Hi, I’m Hilary — the curly haired nurse behind Pulling Curls. I’ve been an RN since 1998 and an L&D RN since 2001.
I’ve seen TONS of people suffer the consequences of dehydration in pregnancy and always encourage my patients and students to be SURE to drink a lot during their pregnancy. Let’s find out why:
Dehydration in Pregnancy
Dehydration can happen REALLY easy during pregnancy. The main reason is that your blood volume is significantly higher. That means you need more fluids to hydrate your body than you would when you’re not pregnant.
BTW, I have a whole post on what’s best to drink during pregnancy, and specifically addresses if Gatorade is OK to drink.
First Trimester Dehydration
The first trimester is one where your hydration needs aren’t as large (as the baby isn’t very big and doesn’t have a lot of needs as far as hydration goes). However, a lot of women experience severe nausea during pregnancy.
If you are unable to keep fluids down, you should talk with your healthcare provider to see what help they think will be best. There are several medications that many women find helpful and are safe during pregnancy.
Second Trimester Dehydration
The second trimester is the “sweet spot” of pregnancy. Most women feel better as far as nausea. Just make sure that you’re adding a few cups of fluid to your regular routine and you should be Ok.
Urine color is always a good indicator of how hydrated you are. I would aim for a very pale yellow.
Third Trimester Dehydration
The third trimester is a time that is SUPER important to stay hydrated. If you aren’t adequately hydrating your body you will have false labor contractions that can be painful.
You’ll also just feel miserable (read on for my story of having to get an IV — yes, even L&D nurses are dumb somteimes).
I would aim for a VERY pale yellow color of urine, and would almost double your average fluid intake when you’re not pregnant. And yes, you might need these. 🙂
BTW, if you’re wanting to learn more about just where you are in your pregnancy, I have a weeks of pregnancy post that I think you’ll like a lot!
Signs of Pregnancy Dehydration
There are a lot of ways your body can tell you it’s dehydrated:
- Contractions — false labor often happens because of dehydration. If you’re feeling cramping or contractions, drink a couple of glasses of water.
- Just generalized feeling miserable — if you’re not drinking you’ll just start to feel worse and worse. Often, that’s due to not taking in enough fluids
- Headaches are often due to dehydration (but can also be more).
- A lack of wetness in the mouth and no tears can be a later sign of dehydration.
**Normally, skin dryness might be a sign of dehydration, but pregnancy hormones have so many effects on your skin you can’t rely on that.
Importance of Hydration in Pregnancy
As I said above, being dehydrated can make your body contract and can possibly put you into preterm labor.
Plus, you just feel SO much better and have less unnecessary hospital/doctors visit because of it. Staying hydrated can totally save you money!
It’s also great for the baby. If you get dehydrated, the fluid levels around the baby can fall, which isn’t great for them as you can imagine. FYI, I talk about fluid levels in this free beginning prenatal class.
When it’s important to pay attention to hydration
- If you’re sick, you need to dramatically increase your fluids
- If it’s hot outside (I’m an L&D Nurse in Phoenix, so we see this a lot)
- If you’re working out or moving your body a lot
- If you’re pregnant. 🙂
How to Increase Fluids
A lot of women don’t like the taste of water while they are pregnant — some good options are:
- Use a water service if you prefer the taste of that
- Use a filter, either on your tap on on a pitcher
- Use an infuser bottle to get some fruit taste in there too!
What should you drink while pregnant?
Well, in a perfect world it would be water.
I see a lot of products saying they “ultra hydrate you” but water is truly the gold standard.
HOWEVER, people who HAAATE water can alternate with other things (I say at least one glass of water, and then one glass of something else). I am not a fan of alcohol during pregnancy (or marijuana), and I always encourage people to make their bodies as benign an environment as possible for their baby. So, do what works for you — or, talk to your doctor. 🙂
Can I just get an IV while I’m pregnant
IV’s do come with risk, but are a good option if you’re so ill that you can’t drink (or can’t keep it down).
I have a whole post on IV’s in labor.
However, if you can drink, I would recommend to drink. I actually got an IV while I was pregnant with my 2nd. I had the flu and really was concentrating on getting fluids in, but it just wasn’t enough. I actually had to get 3 liters of fluid before my urine came back as OK.
BUT, I sure felt great afterward.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out my prenatal class, where I share tons of ways to keep yourself healthy during pregnancy, during labor and even after the baby. It’s given at three price points, so you can get just what you need!
You can also consider starting with my free beginning class as well!