The Importance of Electrolytes and Hydration in Pregnancy: A Guide for Doulas

Darcey Croft

Darcey Croft

The Importance of Electrolytes and Hydration in Pregnancy: A Guide for Doulas

As a doula, you play an essential role in supporting pregnant individuals throughout their journey. One crucial aspect of a healthy pregnancy is ensuring proper hydration and electrolyte balance. This evidence-based guide will discuss the importance of hydration and electrolytes in pregnancy, the risks associated with imbalances, and the benefits of using an electrolyte supplement like ISOMUM to reduce these risks.

The Importance of Hydration and Electrolytes in Pregnancy

  1. Fluid balance 
    During pregnancy, the body’s fluid requirements increase to support the growth of the baby, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid. Adequate hydration is crucial for maintaining proper fluid balance and preventing dehydration, which can lead to complications (Rodríguez et al., 2015).
  2. Electrolyte balance
    Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, play a vital role in maintaining the body’s functions, including nerve and muscle function, fluid balance, and blood pressure regulation (Konrad et al., 2011). Pregnant individuals need an optimal balance of these electrolytes to support a healthy pregnancy.

Risk to Mother & Baby of Dehydration

Dehydration during pregnancy can result in several maternal complications, including:

  1. Urinary tract infections
  2. Constipation
  3. Preterm labour
  4. Low amniotic fluid levels
  5. Morning sickness: Dehydration can exacerbate morning sickness symptoms, making it more challenging for pregnant individuals to maintain proper hydration levels.
  6. Dehydration can also lead to poor fetal growth and development, as well as low birth weight (Rosinger et al., 2019).

Risk to Mother & Baby of Electrolyte Imbalance

Physical symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include:

  1. Muscle weakness or cramping
  2. Fatigue
  3. Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
  4. Nausea or vomiting
  5. Diarrhoea or constipation
  6. Headaches or migraines
  7. Dizziness or lightheadedness
  8. Dry mouth or increased thirst
  9. Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  10. Seizures or convulsions
  11. Increased anxiety and depression

Increased Risk of Pre-eclampsia & Preterm Labour 

As a doula, it’s important to know that hydration and electrolyte imbalances can increase the risk of pre-eclampsia and preterm labour. Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and damage to organs such as the kidneys and liver. It can be dangerous for both the mother and baby and may even lead to premature delivery. Electrolyte imbalances, such as low sodium levels, can cause excess fluid retention and lead to hypertension, increasing the risk of developing pre-eclampsia. In addition, dehydration can cause contractions that may result in preterm labour. Pregnant individuals must maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance during pregnancy to prevent these potential complications. As a doula, it’s important to encourage your clients to stay hydrated and to seek medical attention if they suspect any symptoms of pre-eclampsia or preterm labour.

Increased risk of developing Hyponatremia 

Hyponatremia is low sodium in the blood, which can cause symptoms like headache, nausea, swelling, high blood pressure and even seizures. These symptoms are the same as preeclampsia and may lead to medical interventions like cesarean section. 

Risk to Baby of Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia can affect the baby’s growth and development during pregnancy. In a labouring mother, it can affect birth weight and breastfeeding. It can cause the mother to hold onto too much water, making the baby weigh more at birth. Once the baby loses the extra water, it might suddenly lose some weight, negatively impacting breastfeeding choices. Mothers might feel like breastfeeding isn’t going well and switch to formula instead. Hyponatremia can also make the mother feel weak, dizzy and produce less breast milk, making it harder to breastfeed. 

Increased risk of Gestational Diabetes: 

As a doula, it’s important to understand the risks of electrolyte imbalance and dehydration during pregnancy, especially in relation to gestational diabetes. When a pregnant person is dehydrated or has an electrolyte imbalance, their body may struggle to regulate blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of developing gestational diabetes. This can have negative consequences for both the mother and baby, including a higher risk of preterm labour, preeclampsia, and cesarean birth. Additionally, gestational diabetes can lead to complications for the baby, such as macrosomia (a large baby), respiratory distress syndrome, and hypoglycemia. As a doula, it’s important to educate and support clients in maintaining proper hydration and electrolyte balance throughout their pregnancy to minimize the risk of gestational diabetes and other complications.

As you know, proper hydration and nutrition are crucial during pregnancy and childbirth to prevent complications such as hyponatremia. Encouraging your clients to stay well-hydrated and consume a healthy diet rich in essential nutrients can help prevent electrolyte imbalances and other issues that can negatively impact maternal and fetal health.

It’s also worth considering recommending pregnancy-specific supplements to ensure that your clients are getting the nutrients they need. Prenatal vitamins and other supplements can help bridge any nutritional gaps and support optimal fetal development.

We at ISOMUM would like to express our appreciation for the incredible work that doulas do in supporting mothers and families during pregnancy and childbirth. Your dedication, knowledge, and compassion make a significant difference in the lives of the families you serve.

Thank you for all that you do, and for continuing to prioritize the health and well-being of mothers and babies. As part of our commitment to supporting maternal and fetal health, we at ISOMUM are proud to offer a line of electrolyte drinks specifically designed for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

ISOMUM: An Evidence-Based Electrolyte Supplement for Pregnant Individuals

ISOMUM is an electrolyte supplement specifically formulated for pregnant individuals to help maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance. The use of ISOMUM can reduce the risks associated with dehydration and electrolyte imbalances during pregnancy. Some key features of ISOMUM include:

Optimal electrolyte balance: 

ISOMUM contains a carefully formulated balance of essential energy-boosting electrolytes and vitamins, which support a healthy pregnancy, and labour, with added beneficial vitamins for breastfeeding and postnatal recovery.

Easy to consume: 

ISOMUM is available in a convenient powder form that can be mixed with water, making it easy for pregnant individuals to consume and stay hydrated throughout the day.

Safe and effective: 

ISOMUM is made with high-quality ingredients and has been tested for safety and efficacy in pregnant individuals.

Additional health benefits: 

ISOMUM also includes vitamins, antioxidants, and natural sweeteners, providing extra health benefits for both mother and baby during pregnancy, labour, and breastfeeding.

As a doula, your support and guidance are invaluable in ensuring the health of both the pregnant individual and their baby. By emphasising the importance of proper hydration and electrolyte balance and recommending the use of an evidence-based electrolyte supplement like ISOMUM, you can help reduce the risks associated with dehydration and electrolyte imbalances during pregnancy.

References

Buppasiri, P., Lumbiganon, P., Thinkhamrop, J., & Ngamjarus, C. (2015). Calcium supplementation (other than for preventing or treating hypertension) for improving pregnancy and infant outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2015(2), CD007079. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD007079.pub3

Hofmeyr, G. J., Gülmezoglu, A. M., & Novikova, N. (2014). Maternal hydration for increasing amniotic fluid volume in oligohydramnios and normal amniotic fluid volume. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2014(2), CD000134. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD000134.pub3

Konrad, M., Hou, J., Weber, S., Dötsch, J., Kari, J. A., Seeman, T., Kuwertz-Bröking, E., Peco-Antic, A., Tasic, V., Dittrich, K., Alshaya, H. O., von Vigier, R. O., Gallati, S., Goodenough, D. A., & Schaller, A. (2011). CLDN16 genotype predicts renal decline in familial hypomagnesemia with hypercalciuria and nephrocalcinosis. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 22(4), 601-609. https://doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2010080863

Rodríguez, G., Ventura, M. P., Samper, M. P., Moreno, L., Sarriá, A., & Pérez-González, J. M. (2015). Changes in body water compartments during pregnancy and lactation: the need to change the reference values for hydric balances. Nutrición Hospitalaria, 31(4), 1744-1751. https://doi.org/10.3305/nh.2015.31.4.8486

Rosinger, A. Y., Lawman, H. G., Akinbami, L. J., & Ogden, C. L. (2019). The role of obesity in the relation between total water intake and urine osmolality in US adults, 2009-2012. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 106(6), 1399-1407. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.116.144972

Zhang, Y., Gong, Y., Xue, H., Xiong, J., & Cheng, G. (2017). Vitamin D and calcium status in pregnant women and their neonates in Shanghai, China. Nutrients, 9(3), 180. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9030180

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