The list of things you’re supposed to do when you’re pregnant can seem daunting and endless at first. Avoid this, eat that, do this, but don’t do that. Your body is undergoing a lot of changes, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is needing to drink water.
Everyone knows that not drinking enough water can cause you to become dehydrated. Dehydration can have various effects on a person, but it is particularly dangerous in pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that women who are pregnant should drink 8-12 glasses of water per day to avoid becoming dehydrated. They should also avoid caffeine, stay in the shade on hot days and increase their water intake when exercising to avoid dehydration. Here are some things that could happen if you don’t drink enough water.
If you don’t drink enough water, your body could find it difficult to regulate heat. This is also the reason why pregnant women are told to avoid saunas and hot tubs. Overheating can cause neural tube defects, so you should avoid getting too hot.
A study from 2012 found that even a slight amount of dehydration can have an effect on a person’s mood, mental abilities and energy levels. Your hormones struggle as it is during pregnancy, so don’t add dehydration to them!
Dehydration is known to be a trigger for migraines and headaches, due to the blood vessels in your head narrowing when it is attempting to regulate the fluid. This makes it harder for oxygen and blood to reach your brain, which will result in a headache.
You can often feel dizzy and faint during your pregnancy, but if your balance is feeling especially off, try sitting down with a glass of water, as dizziness is often a sign of being dehydrated.
Dehydration can cause pre-term contractions, and in extreme cases, pre-term labour if you don’t drink enough water. Pregnant women do have a weaker bladder, but it’s better to be constantly going to the toilet than risk the alternative.
Decrease in Amniotic Fluid
Your amniotic sack protects the baby, aiding the development of their muscles, lungs, limbs and digestive system. However, if you are dehydrated, you risk lowering your levels of amniotic fluid.
Poor Milk Production
You need to have enough water in your body to produce breast milk, so it’s important to drink water! If you don’t this could result in poor milk production, which is not great if you’re planning to breastfeed.
Signs of dehydration:
- Dark yellow urine
- Decrease in the need to urinate
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Braxton hicks contractions – contractions that last a minute or so
- Extreme thirst
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sunken eyes
- Low blood pressure
How to remember to drink enough water:
- Take a refillable water bottle with you everywhere.
- Set reminders on your phone to drink.
- Set yourself challenges – a litre before lunch and so on.
- Eat food that has plenty of water – cucumber, watermelon etc.
- Invested in a plumbed in water cooler for filtered, cold water.