Hydration in pregnancy
Dr. Jamal Mourad, DO, FACOG, is an OB/GYN at Banner Desert Medical Center. For more information on this topic, please talk with your doctor.
Question: I know it's important to drink plenty of water during pregnancy, but in high temperatures, how do I know if I'm staying hydrated?
Answer: Drinking plenty of water and other fluids is important to anyone's health, but especially critical for pregnant women. An expectant mother requires more fluid in her body to support the needs of her developing baby and can experience complications in her pregnancy, such as pre-term labor, if she becomes dehydrated. Unfortunately, the dry heat and low humidity in Arizona can cause the body to become dehydrated faster and affect electrolyte balance, so pregnant women should be particularly aware of warning signs.
Early symptoms of dehydration include dry lips, fatigue, dizziness, cramping, and dark or reduced amounts of urine. An expectant mother with dehydration may also experience contractions. If these symptoms arise, get indoors, drink fluids immediately, and eat something with high water content like fruits or vegetables. If symptoms don't subside quickly, call a physician to determine if a hospital visit is necessary.
The key to avoiding dehydration is drinking enough fluids for both mother and baby. In general, pregnant women should consume at least eight to 12 large glasses of water daily. Still, the heat can make staying hydrated challenging, so recognizing and responding to dehydration in its earliest stage is essential. The longer an expectant mother waits to take action, the greater her risk of pre-term labor and early delivery.
Pregnant women in good health are encouraged to get exercise during their pregnancy, and pool time is an ideal way to stay active and cool. However, sun exposure still has a dehydrating effect, so drinking plenty of fluids is absolutely necessary in or out of the water. A good rule of thumb is to drink four tall glasses of water for every hour spent outdoors, and ask your doctor about other beverages that can help support hydration and electrolyte balance.