This Is What Happens When You Get Dehydrated While Pregnant

It's important to stay hydrated, especially during pregnancy. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, leading to an imbalance in electrolytes. They include dry mouth, dry skin, dark-colored urine, infrequent urination, exhaustion, and constipation. More severe dehydration symptoms include confusion, dizziness, seizures, heatstroke, and low blood pressure (via Mayo Clinic).

Dehydration doesn't just affect the mom-to-be, but also the baby. Risk factors associated with dehydration during pregnancy include neural tube defects, amniotic fluid deficiency, and premature labor (via American Pregnancy Association). 

A 2021 study in the Journal of Nutritional Science found a link between chronic dehydration during pregnancy and impacted birth weight and size of the baby, specifically head and chest circumference. Researchers observed that the more a mother stayed hydrated during pregnancy, the greater the newborn's head and chest size. The study showed that nutritional and maternal behavior, in terms of water intake, had a direct impact on fetal development.

How to prevent pregnancy dehydration

It's not easy being a mom-to-be and it's important to be mindful of body temperature changes that naturally occur as a result of pregnancy (via Live Science). Many women actually sweat more during pregnancy, so staying cool in warmer temperatures and getting plenty of water can help prevent dehydration. Doctors recommend that pregnant women aim for 8-12 glasses of water per day (via The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists).

Some great ways to boost hydration are to drink water between meals (especially if you're prone to indigestion), avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda, and drink water even when you don't feel thirsty. If you're prone to vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive sweating (like during exercise, for instance), be sure to replace any of the fluids you may have lost. By staying on top of hydration, you can help boost the good health of you and your baby.