Pregnancy Dehydration: Causes and Complications
At least two-thirds of our body is made of water. Water plays a major role in our body functions, such as lubricating our eyes and joints, eliminating toxins from our body, keeping our skin healthy, and facilitating proper digestion. When the amount of water in our body gets reduced, it should be replenished to ensure proper functioning of our body. When our body loses 1-2% of its entire water content, we feel thirsty, a signal that we need to replace the lost water. Dehydration occurs when we lose too much water in our body without replenishing it, preventing our body to perform its routine functions.
The role of water is extremely important in all stages of pregnancy. Presence of water in the body in sufficient quantities only benefits, while its absence can affect the health of both the mother as well as the baby. When the expecting mother suffers from thirst, it is one of the indications that her body already dehydrated. Thirst however is not always a reliable indication of the body’s need for water. Dehydration can affect anyone, but in pregnant women it can cause complications affecting both the baby and the future mother.
Symptoms of dehydration in pregnant women
From the moment of conception, with the first cell that multiplies, the cells should contain 75% water to grow. Therefore, the presence of water is a must for the baby to grow during pregnancy.
An important element to consider is the amniotic fluid during pregnancy. The level of this fluid determines the development of baby’s organs. Dehydration during pregnancy results into low levels of amniotic fluid, which can cause fetal defects or miscarriages.
There are theories which suggest that ‘nausea’ or ‘morning sickness’ experienced by the pregnant woman are the only way that their baby ‘announces’ that the mother’s body is not getting enough water. Other indications of dehydration that expecting moms often neglect are – fatigue, swollen hands and feet, constipation,head-ache, and increased risk of urinary tract infections.
Nausea in the first trimester is a first major symptom of dehydration for both the mother and fetus. When a woman has nausea and can not absorb enough of what she eats, including water, dehydration can occur very easily. Vomiting can deprive the body of fluids and vitamins it needs to maintain health and to ensure hydration for the growing child. Most mothers adjust their water consumption after the third month and then the nausea disappears; others, who do not, continue having nausea even until baby birth. The consequences can be unfortunate in such cases.
What causes dehydration during pregnancy?
Consuming insufficient amount of water is the first cause of dehydration. So, how much water should you drink while pregnant? It is just as important to drink eight glasses of water a day during the pregnancy, as when you’re not pregnant. You do this not only for your health but also for the health of the child that you will give birth.
If the expecting mother drinks lot of coffee, tea or alcohol during pregnancy, without consuming sufficient amount of water, it can also result into severe dehydration that can affect the physiological development of the fetus in the womb.
Effects of dehydration on baby
The fetus gets its necessary nutrients for growth from her mother. These are: water, oxygen and amino acids. Therefore the water and amino acids in the mother’s body determine fetal development. For most pregnant women, dehydration is not a problem, but for some it can be quite dangerous. Dehydration can cause weakness for anyone, but during pregnancy it can affect the fetus or even lead to a miscarriage.
The greatest danger in case of dehydration occurs during the first trimester causing lack of enough amniotic fluid for the fetus to grow. Without enough amniotic fluid, the baby may be born with deformities in the feet or hands.
Later in pregnancy during the second and third trimesters, if a woman becomes dehydrated either because of illness or because she is too active and does not drink enough water, especially during the summer months, there may be other problems for mother and baby.
A developing brain needs plenty of water (our body is 75% water, the brain is 85% water). If the mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy, she may have a retarded child or child with other mental problems.
Can dehydration cause you to go into labor?
Dehydration often leads to premature birth, because the uterus begins to contract.
If you feel this is happening, try to drink at least two large glasses of water, lie down to rest. If the contractions do not stop, contact your doctor or midwife by phone and ask their advice.
Not feeling like drinking water during pregnancy, What to do?
If you don’t feel like drinking water frequently then you may try these simple home remedies
Flavored Water Recipes
Lemon Water: Add some lemon juice, little sugar/salt, mint leaves 1 liter of water and keep it in refrigerator, drink it within a day.
Fennel Seeds: Boil 2-3 spoons of raw fennel seeds in 5 glasses of water, cool it down and store it in fridge for a day. Consume within a day.
Kokum Sharbat: Add some concentrated kokum syrup to one liter of water, store it in refrigerator and consume in a day.
Jaljira: This is my favorite. You can use some organic Jaljira powder like from Patanjali Brand, Add 2 spoonsful of it to 1 liter of water, keep it in Refrigerator.
Cucumber +Ginger: This recipe is very good to avoid nausea also. Grate 2 cucumbers and ginger (half inch) add it to 1 liter of water, add some lemon juice and mint leaves. Let it set for minimum 2-3 hours. Then filter it and keep it in refrigerator. This is very tasty too and good for whole family. It helps in detoxification of body.
These simple home remedies of flavored water recipes will give some variety to satisfy your taste pallet.
There are numerous benefits of these natural flavored water:
Provide you Vit C, it will avoid nausea, keep you fresh, helps in digestion and most important it is good for hydration during pregnancy.
Avoid taking caffeine and carbonated drinks during pregnancy. Fresh Fruit Juice, soups and butter milk are also very healthy and will help you in avoiding dehydration. This is how you can maintain necessary water level of your body and hence healthy development of baby.