Dehydration can be a pregnant woman’s worst enemy. The sneaky condition comes with a laundry list of complications ranging from mild symptoms like headaches and fatigue to severe symptoms such as urinary tract infections and preterm birth. This blog details the importance of hydration for pregnant and nursing women, and highlights some causes and complications of dehydration.
The Vital Role of Hydration During Pregnancy and Nursing
Hydration is not just preventative maintenance to dodge dehydration. Among other benefits, proper hydration boosts your immune system, decreasing the chances of colds and influenza. Additionally, water intake aids in crucial pregnancy-related processes, including the creation of the placenta and the amniotic sac. Hydration can also help combat complications like constipation and urinary tract infections. Even milder pregnancy symptoms such as headaches and fatigue can be lessened with proper hydration.
Causes of Dehydration for Pregnant and Nursing Women
Sweat, vomit, increased body heat, nausea and frequent urination are all common symptoms associated with pregnancy that contribute to dehydration. The combination of fluids lost during pregnancy and nursing along with increased hydration needs due to physiological changes is a formula for dehydration.
By the end of your first trimester, dehydration is already a cause for concern. 70-80% of pregnant women deal with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, aka NVP. The vomiting and sweating associated with “morning sickness” and NVP lead to a significant loss of water and electrolytes. Blood volume increases during pregnancy, elevating hydration needs for nutrient transport. Increased urination and sweating means more fluid lost, while nausea compounds the problem by discouraging fluid intake. Dehydration remains worrisome after delivery as breast milk is approximately 87% water, thus a significant amount of water leaves the body every time you lactate. The bottom line: The increased loss of fluids and hydration needs must be addressed.
Complications of Dehydration
Common symptoms of dehydration like headaches and fatigue apply to everyone — including pregnant women — but more severe complications can have a major impact on pregnancy and nursing.
Lowered amniotic fluid levels, which can ultimately lead to birth defects, delivery complications, Braxton Hicks contractions, urinary tract infections and preterm labor can all be associated with dehydration.
Post-pregnancy, hydration remains crucial during lactation to replenish the water and nutrients leaving your body. Poor hydration when nursing can lead to cramps and sap you of much-needed energy. As any mother can attest, you need the sustained energy and focus that comes along with effective hydration to raise your little one.
Keep Hydration Top of Mind
Pregnant women are susceptible to dehydration, while simultaneously having higher hydration needs. While you might consider dehydration the least of your pregnancy worries, it is a crucial component of several important processes and changes impacting your body. This same high level of hydration continues during nursing as the majority of milk is made up of water. It is paramount water and electrolyte intake and uptake exceeds water loss while pregnant and nursing. Incorporating Liquid I.V.’s hydration multiplier is a fast and efficient way of staying hydrated. Just one non-GMO electrolyte drink mix packet can provide the same hydration as 2-3 bottles of water, ensuring proper hydration during your pregnancy.