When to Get IV Fluids When Pregnant (Symptoms and Treatment)

Pregnancy brings a lot of physical changes for many women.  You are now growing another human!  Due to this, the amount of fluids pregnant women need to consume increases substantially.  If your fluid intake is not enough, or if you are dealing with severe nausea or morning sickness, it can lead to dehydration.  A common question, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, is when to get IV fluids when pregnant.  

Fluids are essential for cell production. Not only does this help the baby develop, but it also helps with the many changes your body is going through during both early pregnancy and late pregnancy. Staying hydrated during pregnancy not only helps with physical changes but also plays an important role in maintaining your overall health.

Dehydration during pregnancy is not just about feeling a bit thirsty.  It can have serious implications and cause certain health issues in both the mother and unborn child. In this blog post, we dive into the topic of hydration during pregnancy, specifically focusing on situations when IV fluids may be necessary. We will discuss what can cause dehydration, the signs to watch out for, and how IV fluid therapy can be a vital tool in ensuring the health and safety of expecting mothers.

This article is for informational purposes and gives general information about dehydration during pregnancy.  It does not give medical advice.  Expectant mothers should always check with a healthcare provider with any questions or concerns.

What Causes Dehydration in Pregnancy?

Dehydration in pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors, such as inadequate fluid intake, excessive sweating, frequent urination, or vomiting. During pregnancy, the body’s need for fluids increases due to the new life you are growing, as well as physical changes in the mother’s body. As a result, pregnant women are more susceptible to dehydration if they do not consume enough fluids or experience conditions that cause fluid loss. Rising hormone levels and increased blood flow create a need for higher levels of water intake.  Dehydration can become a medical emergency if left untreated.

In addition to these common causes of dehydration during pregnancy, there are certain risk factors that may increase a woman’s chances of becoming dehydrated. These include:

  • Having multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets).  Carrying multiple babies means your human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) levels are higher, which can cause more severe morning sickness and vomiting.
  • Experiencing extreme heat or high humidity. Pregnant women may be more sensitive to temperature changes and may experience increased sweating and fluid loss in hot weather.
  • Having a medical condition that affects fluid balance, such as gestational diabetes or kidney disease.
  • Experiencing severe morning sickness or symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).  HG is a complication of pregnancy that is a form of extreme morning sickness.  It involves severe vomiting and nausea that often requires medical treatment.
  • Being physically active in hot weather. Try to avoid being outside between the hottest hours of the day or switch to indoor activities.
  • Not consuming enough fluids due to food aversions or limited access to water.
  • Taking certain medications or prescription drugs that can cause loss of fluids, such as diuretics.

If you fall into any of these categories, or are high risk for any other reason, it is important to be extra vigilant about your hydration levels and watch out for signs of dehydration.  There are effective treatment options, so do not be afraid to reach out to your doctor.

Effects of Dehydration During Pregnancy

Severe dehydration can have negative effects on both the pregnant woman and the unborn baby’s development. When the body does not have enough fluids, it can lead to decreased blood volume, which means less oxygen and nutrients are being carried to the baby. This can result in potential complications such as low birth weight, premature delivery, or even miscarriage.

In the mother, dehydration can lead to:

  • Increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Low amniotic fluid levels
  • Preterm labor
  • Kidney stones
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Decreased breast milk production after birth
  • Weakened immune system, making the mother more susceptible to illnesses and infections
  • Low blood pressure and decreased blood flow to the uterus, potentially causing complications during labor.

In the unborn baby, severe and prolonged dehydration can cause:

  • Poor growth or low birth weight
  • Neural tube defects 
  • Brain damage due to lack of oxygen

It is crucial for pregnant women to stay hydrated in order to avoid these potential complications. If you are experiencing severe symptoms of morning sickness or symptoms of dehydration during pregnancy, it is important to seek medical advice and potentially get IV fluids to rehydrate your body.

A water bottle is full of water and surrounded by different pieces of fruit.  The water bottle has different sayings written on it.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration During Pregnancy

The symptoms of dehydration during pregnancy are similar to those experienced by anyone else. Dehydration can occur gradually, so it is essential to pay close attention to your body’s signals and take action before it becomes severe. It can appear during any week of pregnancy, but is common during the early weeks of pregnancy, in the first trimester.

Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Dark-colored urine (darker than pale yellow)
  • Dry mouth, lips, and skin
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue, weakness, or low energy levels
  • Muscle cramps
  • Reduced fetal movement (later stages of pregnancy)
  • Weight loss. Losing too much weight during pregnancy can be a sign that you are not consuming enough fluids.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is crucial to address them promptly and replenish your fluids. Make sure you are always drinking enough water throughout the day.  If increasing fluids does not work, it is a good idea to reach out to your doctor.  Ignoring dehydration can lead to more severe complications for both mother and baby.

Ways to Help Dehydration During Pregnancy

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that pregnant women consume at least 2.3 liters of water daily, which is equivalent to about 10 glasses of water. However, this amount may vary depending on factors such as overall health, physical activity levels, and location.

If you dealt with dehydration in a previous pregnancy, it is essential to be extra vigilant about your fluid intake this time around, as well as in any future pregnancies.

Before turning to infusion therapy, there are several steps you can take to help alleviate dehydration during pregnancy, such as:

  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Pregnant women need to consume at least 8-12 cups of water daily.
  • Keeping a refillable water bottle with you at all times is an effective way to help with hydration. Take sips throughout the day, even if you are not feeling thirsty.  
  • Set a reminder on your phone or use an app to track your water intake.  Making a few small lifestyle changes to keep hydration levels up can help ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.
  • Consuming hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables, which can also provide essential nutrients for both mother and baby.
  • Avoiding caffeine and sugary drinks, as they can contribute to dehydration.
  • Consuming drinks like coconut water, sports drinks, or an electrolyte drink is a great way to help with electrolyte imbalances.
  • Resting and avoiding strenuous activities in hot weather. If you are needing an energy boost during your pregnancy, try some prenatal yoga or another less strenuous activity.
  • Asking your doctor about anti-nausea medication if you are experiencing severe morning sickness or HG. You can also try eating bland foods or eating small meals throughout the day to decrease symptoms of morning sickness.
  • Taking your prenatal vitamin. Prenatal vitamins contain essential nutrients and minerals, including Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and folic acid.  Folic acid can be beneficial in helping to prevent dehydration.

If these measures do not improve your symptoms or if you are unable to keep fluids down due to severe morning sickness, it may be necessary to seek medical care.

An IV is hooked up near a hospital bed.

When to Consider IV Fluids During Pregnancy

In some cases, the above methods may not be enough to prevent dehydration for expectant moms. If you are unable to keep fluids down due to vomiting or other factors, your medical professionals may recommend intravenous therapy (IV). This involves the administration of fluids and electrolytes directly into your bloodstream via an intravenous line.

Vitamin therapy is another potential option that can help pregnant women experiencing morning sickness or dehydration. This involves the administration of vitamins and minerals through an IV line to replenish nutrients lost during pregnancy.  These vitamins can include B complex vitamins, such as vitamin B6, which has been shown to reduce morning sickness symptoms in pregnant women.

IV fluid therapy can also be beneficial for pregnant women who have preexisting conditions or medical issues that make them more susceptible to dehydration. Additionally, it can help alleviate symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum and provide much-needed hydration for multiple pregnancies.

If you are experiencing signs of dehydration and are concerned about your health or the health of your baby, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider. They can assess your situation and determine if IV fluids may be necessary for you.

In most cases, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is enough to maintain proper fluid levels during pregnancy. However, there are certain situations when IV fluids may be necessary for pregnant women. These include:

  • Severe cases of morning sickness or HG: As mentioned earlier, excessive vomiting can cause significant fluid loss in pregnant women and may require IV hydration therapy.
  • Hypernatremia: This condition occurs when a woman has high sodium levels in her blood due to inadequate fluid intake. IV fluids can help restore the body’s electrolyte balance.
  • Dehydration due to preexisting medical conditions: If you have a preexisting condition that affects your kidney function or causes excessive fluid loss, your doctor may recommend IV fluids during pregnancy to prevent dehydration.
  • Labor and Delivery: During labor and delivery, it is common for women to receive IV fluids to ensure proper hydration levels and provide essential nutrients during the process.

If you are experiencing any of these situations or have concerns about your hydration levels during pregnancy, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider for guidance. They can evaluate your specific situation and determine if IV fluids are necessary for you and your baby’s health.

In conclusion, staying hydrated during pregnancy is crucial for both mother and baby. Drinking enough oral fluids, especially water, can help you avoid some uncomfortable symptoms that can develop with dehydration.  Dehydration can have serious consequences, but there are steps you can take to prevent it. If you are experiencing severe symptoms or are at a higher risk of dehydration, talk to your doctor about potential solutions, including IV fluid therapy. Remember to prioritize your health and stay hydrated throughout this beautiful journey of pregnancy!  Keep track of the amount of water you drink, listen to your body’s signals, and seek medical advice when necessary. Take care of yourself and enjoy this special, but short time! 

You may also like reading:

Best Prenatal Iron Gummies for Pregnancy

Can Pregnant Women Eat Ranch Dressing? (Safe Dressings)

Can I Eat Goat Cheese While Pregnant? (What To Avoid)

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