November 13, 2009

Treatment for Dehydration in Pregnancy

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Dehydration occurs when the body eliminates more water than what is consumed. It can occur commonly during pregnancy and if not taken care of properly can lead to serious consequences. Heat exhaustion, heat cramps or heat stroke can occur due to dehydration. In the initial months of pregnancy, dehydration can result due to morning sickness. Dehydration usually causes further nausea, thereby preventing a person from eating or drinking anything. Severe dehydration may require administering IV fluids to the individual. Rehydration may take a day or a couple of days, after which the woman will regain her normal health. A cause for concern when dehydration occurs during the first trimester and early half of the second trimester is that there may not be adequate amniotic fluid for the fetus. This will cause the fetus to lie against the uterus as there is not enough fluid for it to float on. This can pose the risk of abnormal development of the arms and legs.

If dehydration occurs in the latter half of the second trimester and in the third trimester, there is a risk of premature labor contractions. The volume of the blood decreases due to dehydration and this elevates the oxytocin levels in the body. Oxytocin is the hormone that stimulates uterine contractions. Rehydrating the individual can stop the contractions from continuing. Dehydration also causes a rise in body temperature which can cause exhaustion, muscle cramps and other symptoms. Pregnant women usually tend to have low energy levels and the fatigue ensuing from dehydration can worsen the condition. The symptoms of dehydration usually begin with excessive thirst. Vertigo or dizziness and headaches may also result due to reduced blood pressure. Other symptoms include dryness of the mouth, chapped lips, weakness, nausea, vomiting and dry skin.

It is very easy to prevent dehydration during pregnancy. Plenty of water must be consumed, as much as ten pints of water a day. If nausea is causing the dehydration, then the doctor may be consulted for medications that can alleviate nausea. Home remedies such as smelling a freshly cut lemon will also help to ease nausea. During pregnancy, nausea is triggered by over-sensitivity to certain smells. Adding a couple of drops of essential oil of lavender and a drop of peppermint to a humidifier will help to ease the reactions to various smells. As intake of liquids may cause the individual to vomit further, taking ice cubes or frozen fruit juices may prove beneficial. Before taking oral rehydration solutions or electrolyte replacement solutions, it is advisable to speak with your doctor first.