Long periods of time in the sun and heat can take a toll on anyone, but pregnant women should be extra vigilant about drinking enough water. Don’t run the risk of dehydration this summer… read on!
Why We Need Water
A woman’s body is made up of about 55% water, and a newborn baby’s body is about 75% water! Water is a vital part of many bodily functions: it flushes waste products from the cells, aids in liver and kidney function, regulates body temperature, protects joints and organs, and generates healthy skin. Because blood is made mostly of water, it’s especially important to drink a lot during pregnancy, as mom’s blood volume increases significantly.
What Happens When You’re Dehydrated
When your body starts running low on fluids, you may experience fatigue, constipation, blood clots, preterm labor, and, in severe cases, miscarriage. It is also dangerous because it can compromise your baby’s nourishment. Proper hydration is important for producing adequate breast milk, too.
Signs of Dehydration
Sweating in the summer is one way your body cools itself off, but it can cause you to lose a significant amount of water. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Dry mouth and thirst
- Cool or pale skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rising pulse
- Feeling dizzy, weak, or lightheaded
- Bad headache that doesn’t improve with acetaminophen
- Abdominal cramping lasting 15 minutes or more
- Fever of 102 degrees F. or higher
- Feeling confused or disoriented
If you experience any of these symptoms, stop immediately to rest in a cool place and drink water. If the symptoms don’t subside within 30 minutes, call your doctor. You may need to be put on an IV to rehydrate yourself.
How Much Should I Drink?
To prevent dehydration, you should try to drink at least 8-12 eight-ounce glasses of non-caffeinated fluids every day. Caffeine can actually dehydrate you. Fruits and vegetables count too, since they contain substantial amounts of water. You may not always feel thirsty, but try to drink at regular intervals throughout the day anyway. If it’s very hot or you are exercising, increase your water intake. Your urine should be light yellow, and you should need to go to the bathroom a few times a day.