Posted on July 30, 2018

With daily temperatures averaging between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius during the summer months, clinicians at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Women’s Wellness and Research Center (WWRC) are reminding pregnant women about the importance of drinking water, noting that serious pregnancy complications can occur from dehydration.

According to Dr. Fatema Mohamad Asheer, Senior Specialist for Obstetrics and Gynecology at WWRC, it is common for pregnant women to have a slightly higher than normal body temperature due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy. While a slightly elevated body temperature is normal, it can put pregnant women at an increased risk of dehydration, particularly those who live in regions with hot climates. “Water plays a key role in the healthy development of a baby. Very serious complications for both a pregnant women and her unborn child can occur from heat-related conditions, such as premature labor, poor breast milk production, and even birth defects,” said Dr. Asheer. “Water helps to form the placenta and amniotic sac and is a key component of breast milk. Dehydration during the third trimester is especially risky as it can trigger contractions and pre-term labor,” explained Dr. Asheer.

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Experts recommend pregnant women drink eight to 12 glasses of water each day and eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that have a high water content. Pregnant women are also urged to wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing; avoid exposure to direct sunlight; limit the time they spend outside during the hottest part of the day, take frequent breaks from the heat (spending time in air-conditioned or cooler places); and avoid caffeine and foods with excessive salt. “If pregnant moms are not certain how much water to drink, I suggest they fill three one-liter bottles with water and drink those throughout the day,” said Dr. Asheer. 

Common symptoms of dehydration include dizziness or lightheadedness, headaches, confusion, a decrease in urine and/or sweating, chills, and fatigue. One of the easiest ways for pregnant women to identify if they are dehydrated is to observe the color of their urine. Dark-colored urine signals a problem. “The best tip I can offer pregnant women is to simply listen to your body. Let thirst be your guide,” said Dr. Asheer. “If you are thirsty, that is a clear signal that your body is lacking the fluid it needs which is vital for both you and your baby.”

HMC’s Women’s Wellness and Research Center is the region’s largest tertiary hospital dedicated to women’s health. It offers a range of clinical services from pre-conception to childbirth, post-natal care, and beyond the reproductive phase of life.