It is normal for expectant mothers to have many questions about the changes in their bodies, especially if it is their first pregnancy. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to battle food cravings or nausea while watching your body gradually change. Many of the symptoms can be ignored in most cases as they will go away over time including cravings and food aversions, fatigue, morning sickness and altered tastes. Other symptoms, such as intense thirst in early pregnancy, shouldn’t be ignored and this is especially true if they last for an extended period of time. Read on to learn the why you feel the thirst in pregnancy and how you can deal with it.
Possible Causes of Thirst in Early Pregnancy
In some cases thirst during pregnancy is nothing more than a sign that your body needs to have more fluids. Other times, however, it indicates a serious complication. Because of this, you should always talk to your doctor if you experience unusual symptoms during your pregnancy, particularly if they persist. When thirst is combined with other symptoms, it can indicate a need for treatment.
1. The Need to Hydrate
No matter the stage of pregnancy that you are in, you will experience an increase in your need to urinate. During the early part of pregnancy, your body will become thirsty to let you know that both you and your baby need to take in more fluids. These fluids are essential for flushing excess waste from your body and this includes the waste that your baby produces. The amniotic sac protects the baby and is filled up with fluids but in order to fill the sac, you must have plenty of fluids. If you eat salty foods, you may notice an increased thirst. For some women, this thirst seems insatiable, especially if they have heightened body temperature or experience night sweats.
2. Increase in Blood Volume
Thirst is also a common response to the increase in blood volume that pregnant women experience. Blood volume in the body can increase up to 40% during pregnancy and many pregnant women feel thirsty as they need more water for this blood. The additional blood is essential as it gives your fetus nutrients and oxygen and helps new cells develop.
3. Low Blood Pressure
It is also common to experience a decrease in blood pressure during the early 24 weeks of a pregnancy. Because of this, the heart has to pump extra blood around the body which is harder work. An unusual increase in thirst can be one indication of low blood pressure during pregnancy but it will usually be accompanied by other symptoms. Possible signs include fatigue, shallow and rapid breathing, paleness, clammy skin, cold skin, nausea, blurred vision, fainting, lightheadedness, and dizziness.
How to Deal with Thirst in Early Pregnancy
In addition to drinking plenty of water, also make the effort to eat vegetables and fruit. You should also drink fresh fruit juice and milk. These have good fluid content and will also provide you with essential minerals and vitamins.
While increasing your consumption of water, milk, and fresh fruit juice, you should also decrease your intake of salty foods and soda. Salt has sodium and that can lead to water retention and eventual dehydration. Dehydration is especially dangerous during pregnancy as it can lead to constipation or fatigue and in severe cases it may even lead to preterm labor or miscarriage.
When to Worry:
If you suddenly feel very thirsty and your urine is dark yellow, you may be dehydrated. If you are thirsty and going to the bathroom more often than normal, it may indicate gestational diabetes. Each of these issues can lead to complications for your baby and you, so always mention the symptoms to your doctor.
Causes of Thirst in Later Pregnancy
Just as some moms have thirst in early pregnancy, thirst in later pregnancy may occur to some moms. It is especially important to look out for unexplained thirst during your second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Normally, it is caused by the expanding uterus, which exerts more pressure on the bladder, urging you to urinate more and thus feel thirsty. It may indicate the start of gestational diabetes and if it is combined with frequent urination and extreme fatigue, talk to your doctor.
In this case, your doctor will recommend a blood sugar test (a glucose tolerance test) and you have a risk of developing gestational diabetes if your numbers are higher than 140 mg/DL. You have an increased risk of you previously had gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is fairly common as the body needs to create more insulin to meet its changing needs. When that doesn’t happen, you develop gestational diabetes which you can control by watching your consumption of sugar and taking insulin injections. If it isn’t treated, this condition may lead to your baby being larger, increasing your chance of needing a C-section.