Dehydration and Pregnancy: How to Treat Dehydration When You’re Expecting

Maintaining proper fluid balance during pregnancy can be a challenge. The reason is simple: Symptoms caused by the hormonal and physical changes of pregnancy speed up the loss of fluids and electrolytes. When we lose fluids and electrolytes too quickly, we become dehydrated.

The body’s increased water needs during pregnancy add to the challenge of maintaining fluid balance. For instance, a majority of the maternal weight is water. Normally, there are about 5-6 liters of water in the body. During pregnancy, this can increase to as much as 9 liters. Expecting mothers also produce higher blood volume (which requires more water) to help send nutrients to the developing baby.

Learning to recognize the early symptoms of dehydration can help you adjust your fluid intake habits so you can avoid dehydration and enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know about dehydration and pregnancy, including dehydration’s warning signs and main causes and how an oral rehydration solution can help.

Dehydration and Pregnancy: Symptoms

Dehydration and Pregnancy and its symptoms

While dehydration and pregnancy is a scary combination, you can prepare by learning the many signs of dehydration. Once you recognize these symptoms, you can focus on addressing the dehydration as quickly as possible to avoid any complications. 

Here are the main symptoms of dehydration during pregnancy:

  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Maternal overheating — an increased risk of increased body temperature while pregnant
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dark urine
  • Sunken eyes
  • Irritability or confusion

If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to act quickly. In a moment, we’ll show you the best ways to ease dehydration. However, it’s also important to let your obstetrician or health care provider know if you think you’re dehydrated when you’re pregnant. A qualified professional can help you monitor symptoms and keep an eye on the situation as your baby grows.

How to Ease Dehydration 

If you realize you have symptoms of dehydration, the best approach is to address your fluid intake immediately. When you're dehydrated, drinking plain water or even a few glasses of water won’t fully address dehydration. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help your absorption. This is where oral rehydration solutions (ORS) come in. 

With a precisely balanced ratio of electrolytes like the one found in DripDrop ORS, you can replenish vital electrolytes and lost fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium which are essential to support your overall health.

Keep in mind that fruit juices and sports drinks are also less effective at addressing dehydration than oral rehydration solutions. That’s because these drinks are packed with too much sugar and not enough electrolytes, such that fluid absorption isn’t as rapid as it is with DripDrop ORS. 

In addition, consuming high-sugar juice drinks has a relationship to an increased risk of gestational diabetes. Reach for an oral rehydration solution when you start feeling symptoms of dehydration during pregnancy.

The Main Causes of Dehydration During Pregnancy

dehydration and pregnancy: what causes it

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids and electrolytes than it can replace. Organs and cells in your body need these components to work properly. So when you’re dehydrated, you start to experience a breakdown in normal functioning.

During pregnancy, dehydration is particularly dangerous because water and electrolytes are essential to the growth and development of your fetus. The placenta needs water in order to transfer nutrients between you and your baby. The amniotic sac also uses fluids to help protect your baby. 

Without enough fluids, complications including neural tube defects, seizures, and preterm labor can occur. These complications typically occur in cases of severe fluid imbalance.

Fluid needs can vary from day to day, but a general rule of thumb is to divide your weight in half and drink that many ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds, you should try to drink 50 ounces of water.

When you’re pregnant, you need to be particularly careful about avoiding dehydration. That’s because pregnancy conditions such as morning sickness, diarrhea, and maternal overheating dramatically increase the risk of dehydration. Here are the most common causes of dehydration during pregnancy.

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness affects roughly 50% of expecting mothers, with some estimates suggesting it may be as high as 70-80% of women. According to the American Pregnancy Association, morning sickness symptoms typically begin during the first trimester at 4-6 weeks and peak at 9-13 weeks. Symptoms of morning sickness include vomiting, nausea, increased sweating, and more frequent urination.

Commonly, the symptoms of morning sickness are greatly diminished or disappear completely by the second and third trimesters. However, up to 20% of expectant women may experience morning sickness throughout their three trimesters.

Vomiting, increased sweating, and more frequent urination speed up the loss of water and electrolytes. In addition, nausea discourages you from drinking adequate volumes of fluids voluntarily, which can make it more difficult to replace lost nutrients.

Hyperemesis

Hyperemesis, sometimes called severe morning sickness, is a rare condition that affects about 2% of expecting mothers. Researchers don’t know the exact cause of hyperemesis, but some studies show a link between an increase in the hormone HCG, which is produced by the placenta. The symptoms of hyperemesis are often confused with those of morning sickness, but they are much more severe and last throughout the pregnancy. Symptoms include severe vomiting, extreme nausea, and the inability to keep down foods.

Like morning sickness, the symptoms of hyperemesis cause a rapid loss of fluids and electrolytes. Plus, fever — which is sometimes associated with the vomiting and nausea of hyperemesis — can increase sweating and amplify fluid loss. Without enough water and electrolytes, dehydration begins to set in.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea during pregnancy can be caused by sudden dietary changes, increased hormone production, and the sensitivity to certain foods some pregnant women experience. During the third trimester, especially nearing the due date, diarrhea is more common.

Diarrhea results in a severe loss of water and electrolytes, and it is one of the leading causes of dehydration. Replenishing water and electrolytes with an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS after an episode of diarrhea is critical to prevent dehydration.

Hot Weather and Excessive Sweating

Some pregnant women experience increased sweating during their pregnancies. Sweat is one of the main ways we lose fluids and electrolytes. That’s why doctors often recommend increasing your water intake when you’re expecting.

Additionally, hot weather can increase sweat production and raise the risk of dehydration. It can also increase the risk of heat-related illness such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

While pregnant, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, especially if you’re active or are outdoors in high temperatures — particularly when temps are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Pack a water bottle and a few sticks of DripDrop ORS in your bag so you can easily drink fluids while on the go.

Pregnancy Complications From Dehydration

pregnant woman in a hospital bed

Dehydration can cause serious complications during pregnancy. Most of these complications occur when dehydration isn’t addressed quickly enough and reaches severe levels or when dehydration occurs regularly during pregnancy.

Here are the most common pregnancy complications associated with dehydration.

  • Constipation: Hormonal changes experienced by expecting mothers slow the digestive process, which leads to constipation. Avoiding dehydration helps the stomach digest food and create waste.
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Pregnant women are more susceptible to getting a UTI, and dehydration may increase the risk of UTI. In studies of non-pregnant women, some results have shown dehydration makes women more susceptible to getting a UTI.
  • Low amniotic fluid: Several studies have found dehydration can decrease amniotic fluid levels.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions: Dehydration is widely considered a trigger for Braxton Hicks contractions. Often, drinking more fluids is the first course of action to ease these contractions.
  • Inadequate breast milk production: Your body can’t produce enough breast milk when you’re dehydrated, because you’re not getting enough fluids and electrolytes. In cases of severe dehydration or chronic dehydration, your baby may not get the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to develop properly. This can result in birth defects or premature labor.

How Drip Drop ORS Can Help

DripDrop ORS was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration. The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, improving on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards. What's more, it tastes great. By comparison, sports drinks contain about one-third the electrolytes of DripDrop ORS and twice as much sugar.

For cases of mild to moderate dehydration, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great tasting remedy. Plus, our convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it. Get started with a trial of our most popular multi-flavor pouches — including watermelon, lemon, and berry — for dehydration relief fast.