During the long summer months, it’s vital that you remain properly hydrated. Serious dehydration can create problems and complications, such as neural tube defects and premature labour, both of which could land you in hospital. Here’s a summer guide to preventing dehydration for pregnant women.

What is dehydration?

Before you can prevent it, you first need to know what it is.

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than it receives. This could be caused by sweating in the heat, a lack of fluid intake or other conditions such as vomiting and diarrhoea which prevent the body from absorbing the fluids it needs.

What are the signs of dehydration?

To ensure you effectively prevent dehydration, you need to watch out for some of the key signs. These include:

  • A dry mouth
  • Increase in sleepiness
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Constipation
  • Severe headaches
  • An increase in thirst
  • Dark coloured urine

How do you prevent dehydration?

1) Eat the right stuff

Foods high in water content can be a great way to cool you down and replenish your internal water supply. Fruit such as watermelon and strawberries are great for this, so are vegetables such as cucumber and lettuce. Better yet, you could even make yourself some popsicles. These are a great way to combat the heat, help you to feel refreshed and get you the liquids you need. Plus the little added sugar will work wonders for your glucose levels.

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2) Listen to your body

If your body is saying it’s thirsty, then have something to drink. It doesn’t always have to be water either. If you find yourself craving fruit juices or something else then that’s fine. Just remember to top up your water as often as you can. Likewise if you feel your body is exhibiting some of the signs of dehydration mentioned above, then you need to do something about it to prevent harming you or your baby.

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3) Drink plenty

It goes without saying that the key to preventing dehydration is to drink plenty of water. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends drinking up to 3 litres of water a day during the warm weather.

4) Keep cool

If you keep yourself cooler, you’ll be less likely to sweat and therefore reduce the risk of dehydrating. Think about staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day and occupy your time with indoor activities.

5) Avoid too much salt and protein

You still need some salt in your diet but salt, and proteins that are high in salt, can dehydrate you as salt absorbs the water already in your body. If you are eating foods high in salt or protein, then ensure you have a drink at the same time.

6) Sip instead of gulp

Gulping down a litre of water every few hours isn’t the best way to stay hydrated. Also, if you’re finding it difficult to meet your daily intake quote then try sipping a bottle of water continuously throughout the day instead.