Dehydration can always cause complications, especially if the dehydration is severe. This is particularly true during pregnancy. To stay healthy and keep the fetus healthy, the mom should drink at least 64 oz. of liquid daily. In most cases, dehydration during pregnancy can be prevented by increasing fluid intake. Severe cases of dehydration may require close monitoring by a physician or hospitalization to increase fluid levels.
In the first trimester, dehydration is most commonly caused by morning sickness. If the woman is unable to keep down any liquids, dehydration can occur quickly. When morning sickness is severe and unable to be controlled, the pregnant woman may be admitted to the hospital for IV fluids. Later in the pregnancy, dehydration is most likely caused by inadequate fluid intake throughout the day and easily corrected by drinking more liquids. Sweating, whether due to exercise or the hot summer temperatures, can also be responsible for dehydration.
The most common symptom of dehydration is thirst. It is important to drink throughout the day instead of waiting to be thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Other symptoms of dehydration in pregnancy include nausea, chapped lips, dizziness, headaches, weakness, dry mouth and dark colored urine.
Maintaining proper hydration during pregnancy contributes to the health of the pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, dehydration in pregnancy can cause preterm labor and miscarriage. A lack of fluids causes a decrease in blood volume. This decrease results in an increase in the hormone, oxytocin, which can cause contractions. In addition, proper fluid intake is needed to maintain the amniotic fluid level. A decrease in amniotic fluid can cause physical deformities of the fetus.
Other than noticing typical dehydration symptoms, there is an easy way to monitor if you are receiving the appropriate amount of fluids each day. Your urine should be clear and very pale. If your urine is dark colored, has a strong scent or is not clear, this can be an indicator of dehydration. Increase your fluid intake throughout the day until your urine is pale and clear.
Drink at least 64 oz. of fluid daily, preferably water, and spread out your fluid intake throughout the day. If you are adverse to plain water, try adding flavor packets or buy flavored water. Eating foods with high water content, such as watermelon, can also be beneficial in keeping you hydrated. Many pregnant women find that their fluid intake needs to be increased during pregnancy. Discuss your fluid needs with your physician to determine the optimal amount for you.