Summer is in full swing, and depending on where you live, the heat may be becoming nearly unbearable. While everyone should be mindful about the risk of dehydration in the summer months, the condition can be particularly scary for pregnant women. If you're feeling your body tell you it's dangerously low on fluids, what should you do? Should you go to the hospital if you're dehydrated while pregnant?
Not necessarily, says Dallas OB-GYN Sheila Chhutani. In an interview with Romper, Chhutani says, "As long as you can hydrate yourself orally, then you can stay home and hydrate. If you have been sweating a lot, it is important to replace electrolytes as well as water. Diluting juice, low calorie sports drinks, or electrolyte tabs in water will help you do that. If you are nauseated and vomiting and can't keep anything down orally, you should go call your healthcare provider."
So how exactly do you know if you're dehydrated? It's more than just feeling thirsty, and not all dehydration results in nausea or vomiting. Turns out, there's a fool-proof way to tell. Chhutani explains, "You know if you are hydrated by the color of your urine. If it is light yellow or clear in color, you are hydrated. If it is dark, you need to drink more."
It's important to remember that you are more susceptible to the symptoms of dehydration during pregnancy than you normally would be, because your blood pressure is typically lower when you're pregnant. Dehydration has the potential to bring with it those two little words that bring fear and trembling to expectant mothers everywhere: preterm labor.
Dr. Yvonne Bohn, a OB-GYN in Santa Monica, says "When a woman is dehydrated, the body will release an anti-diuretic hormone to help conserve fluid. This hormone has a similar structure to oxytocin so women can have uterine contractions stimulated by dehydration. Dehydration that leads to ketosis can be bad for the development of the fetus if it is prolonged. It's also risky if it leads to preterm birth."
Clearly, dehydration during pregnancy is nothing to shrug off lightly. If you're experiencing severe symptoms that aren't being alleviated by home remedies, call your healthcare provider and ask if you need to be seen, and don't hesitate to go in if you find you can't hold any liquids down. But for mild cases of dehydration, even during pregnancy, likely all you'll need is a soft bed and a huge jug of Gatorade.