Did you know?
Water is essential for pregnant and breast feeding people. If you are pregnant and begin to dehydrate you will start to have contractions/surges (during third trimester). Breastfeeding parents need to drink water and remain hydrated so you produce enough milk for your baby.
How much is the right number?
We hear that 8 glasses a day is enough water for our bodies. That isn't always true. Pregnant people need more water than a nonpregnant person. Water is an important component in the development of your baby. Why? It helps form the placenta which the baby receives nutrients from during pregnancy. Water forms the amniotic sac in later pregnancy. Clearly it is an important element during pregnancy.
A group of midwives I know tell people to drink at least a gallon per day during pregnancy. I have read that if you take your body weight and divide it in half you have the perfect amount of ounces of water to drink each day. Either way you get a great volume of water.
Am I dehydrated?
Some things to look for and consider if you are dehydrated are:
Urine color - clear is good and dark urine is bad so increase water intake
Dry, sticky mouth, chapped lips
Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
Decreased urine output
Few or no tears when crying
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Dry skin that lacks elasticity and does not bounce back
Low blood pressure
Rapid heartbeat and breathing
Delirium or unconsciousness in serious cases
How does dehydration impact pregnancy?
From the American Pregnancy Association: "Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to serious pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor. These risks, in turn, can lead to birth defects due to lack of water and nutritional support for your baby".
Livestrong.com indicates: "In addition to the possible maternal risks of fatigue, constipation and inadquate breast milk production, dehydration may lead to other health concerns for your baby. Water plays vital roles in removing waste and in liver and kidney functions for both you and your baby. Dehydration could lead to in adequate removal of waste substances from your baby's cells and place strain on his liver and kidneys. Dehydration in the third trimester can actually trigger uterine contractions and lead to preterm labor".
**If you do become dehydrated do not drink too much water at once because it can impact your salt and mineral levels in your body. Sips are always better than guzzling fluids. If you feel bad contact your doctor or go to the labor and delivery department at your hospital. They may end up prescribing an IV drip to get fluids into your body.
Prevention is key!
Remember that other drinks that are full of caffeine actually cause dehydration so avoid coffee, tea, and cola drinks. Juice and other drinks do not replace the bodies need for water so you still need to get your full requirement of water each day.
Exercise can impact the pregnant body through overheating. On hot summer days try not to overdue exercise in the heat. Instead of exercising outdoors try to do some exercise in doors OR cut back your time in the heat. Try walking early in the morning or late in the day.
How to drink more water each day? (from Huffington Post)
1. Make it a habit. When you get up each morning and before you go to bed drink one glass of water. Drink one glass after you brush your teeth.
2. Eat veggies that are full of water like: cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, kiwi, zucchini, and celery.
3. Take a bottle or thermos of water with you everywhere you go.
4. Flavor your water with crystal light packets or fresh fruit.
5. Make homemade popsicles.
6. For every drink of juice or other beverage, drink another glass of water.
***This article is not medical advice. Always contact your Care Provider for medical information.