Staying Hydrated During Pregnancy

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Your hydration needs change during pregnancy. Learn how to keep up with your ideal water intake.

Do you have good hydration habits? Do you keep a water bottle with you at all times? During pregnancy, you may want to buy a bigger bottle. Water is crucial to several parts of the development process, including forming the placenta and amniotic sac. Proper hydration also promotes healthy development of the fetus and prevents things like neural tube defects.

Hydration tips for expectant mothers include:

  • Drinking between eight and 12 glasses of water per day
  • Upping that water intake when you exercise
  • Avoiding drinks containing caffeine, as it can dehydrate you by causing you to urinate more often

All liquids you drink count toward your hydration goal, but try to stay away from anything too high in sugar, as these beverages provide empty calories. Staying adequately hydrated helps you avoid some of the unpleasant conditions associated with pregnancy, including constipation, swelling, urinary tract infections and hemorrhoids.

Many pregnant women experience morning sickness, which can cause or increase dehydration. Find beverages you can tolerate. Carbonated liquids often stay down more easily, as do acidic drinks like orange juice (though try to stick to one glass per day). Ginger ale may ease nausea, and taking small sips may also help.

Dehydration During Pregnancy

When someone who isn’t pregnant gets dehydrated, concerns are mostly heat exhaustion and heatstroke. For those who are pregnant, however, the consequences are different. Not being adequately hydrated can lead to complications, including low amniotic fluid, decreased production of breast milk and early labor.

Signs of dehydration during pregnancy include:

  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dizziness
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Headache
  • Less urine production
  • Overheating

Prevent dehydration by ensuring you’re taking in enough fluids—and the right kind of fluids. Water is always best, though if it upsets your stomach or you want variety, you can try flavored water, juices or teas. While exercise is important during pregnancy, overly strenuous exercise can lead to dehydration. Talk to your doctor about the right level of physical activity for you. Also, avoid environments with high temperatures, as pregnancy makes you more prone to overheating.

McKenzie-Willamette Birthing Center offers a variety of services for expecting parents and postpartum support. Call (541) 741-4649 for more information or visit McKWeb.com.

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