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How do I Avoid Dehydration in Pregnancy?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2016
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Drinking plenty of water is one of the most common ways to avoid dehydration in pregnancy, though factors such as morning sickness and warm weather can sometimes mean that water isn’t enough. Depending on the cause of dehydration, your doctor might recommend diet changes, vitamins, and even decreasing your physical activity. If the dehydration is severe enough, you might need to receive fluids intravenously or be hospitalized. It’s important to learn the symptoms of dehydration and treat the condition as soon as possible to avoid complications such as birth defects, premature labor, and miscarriage.

Learning the symptoms of dehydration in pregnancy is the first step to understanding what you should avoid and how you should treat it. The symptoms of dehydration in pregnancy are similar to dehydration symptoms in those who aren't pregnant. They can include headaches, extreme thirst, cracked skin, and a dry nose and mouth. Some women might notice muscle spasms, and that their urine is darker than usual and has a pungent smell. Other serious side effects of dehydration include weakness and fatigue, dizziness, and fainting.

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The vomiting associated with morning sickness can make it difficult for pregnant women to stay hydrated, meaning the most common time for a pregnant woman to be at risk for dehydration in pregnancy is during her first trimester. That's when your doctor might recommend that you increase your water intake and stay away from caffeinated beverages to manage or avoid morning sickness and dehydration. He or she might also recommend replenishing your electrolytes with certain foods or a prescription or over-the-counter solution. In a bid to prevent or decrease nausea, your doctor might suggest that you make certain diet changes and avoid exposure to unpleasant scents. Some doctors suggest common nausea remedies such as taking ginger or beginning a B6 or B12 vitamin regimen, while others may suggest more alternative remedies such as acupressure.

Even though many women tend to experience fewer instances of morning sickness during their second and third trimesters of pregnancy, dehydration is still a possibility. During these trimesters, some usual causes of dehydration in pregnancy include illness, an increase in activity without an adequate increase in water intake, and sweating as a result of warmer weather. Typically, a doctor will recommend simple treatments for dehydration, such as increasing your water intake, decreasing your physical activity, and staying in a cool, climate-controlled area. If your dehydration is caused by an illness, your doctor will want to treat the illness first. Then, depending on the illness, he or she might prescribe medication to manage the illness or boost your immune system.

Although common treatments to manage or avoid dehydration seem simple, dehydration itself can cause significant complications when not properly treated. It’s important to talk with your doctor and start treatments as soon as you suspect you’re dehydrated. Otherwise, you face more serious treatment requirements such as intravenous fluids and even hospitalization. Failing to treat your dehydration as soon as possible can also put your baby at risk for being born prematurely or with birth defects. Untreated dehydration can even lead to miscarriage.

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