Most women are familiar with typical signs of pregnancy such as tender breasts, nausea, a missed period, fatigue, and of course, a positive pregnancy test. However, not all women develop the same symptoms as others.
Before a test can accurately detect the presence of pregnancy-related hormones and remove all doubt, it is not unusual for women experiencing anything different from normal to wonder if it’s an indication they have conceived. For example, some wake up one morning with a mouth that is parched and dry and eagerly wonder to themselves: “Is thirst a symptom of pregnancy?”
Thirst in Pregnancy
The answer to this question is yes, extreme thirst and an uncomfortably dry mouth commonly occur in the beginning stages of pregnancy.
Further, when present, the unpleasant sensation often worsens at nighttime and may be accompanied by the further discomfort of a dry nose, cracked lips, or headaches. During this period of change in a woman’s life, there are many reasons why this takes place.
The most obvious of these is dehydration. The body requires a lot of fluids during gestation for proper circulation and to ensure that the placenta has the nutrients necessary to pass on to a growing child.
It is not uncommon to also feel sick to one’s stomach and dizzy or lightheaded with headaches while dehydrated.
An additional reason for thirst is that a pregnant individual’s metabolic rate kicks into overdrive and the body needs extra food and liquid to meet its demands.
Compounding this further, with a higher metabolism it is also not uncommon to sweat, at times, excessively. This results in the loss of copious amounts of fluids that must be replenished.
3. Blood Volume
Because blood volume increases during pregnancy, sometimes by as much as 50%, this also makes kidneys work harder to process and pump out more fluids. A lot of these fluids then pass on to fill up the bladder. With more urination, individuals become thirstier.
Pregnancy is also a time when hormones go a little haywire, particularly in its beginning stages. Among other things altering levels negatively impact saliva production, leaving women feeling parched. Hormone-related symptoms may last until giving birth.
5. Gestational Diabetes
Unfortunately, gestational diabetes may be another reason for thirst, as it decreases moisture in the mouth while also increasing urination.
Other symptoms of this condition to look for include vomiting, dizziness, or diarrhea, among others. If diabetes is a concern a doctor can rule it out with a test; if not, most offices routinely screen for it between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation.
Of course, it is also possible to have extreme thirst and not be pregnant at all. In this case, something such as medication may be triggering symptoms. A significant number of drugs are known to cause dry mouth and thirst as an unintended side effect.
Ways to Treat Thirst with Dry Mouth
Saliva serves a role of vital importance within the mouth; it carries away excess food that would otherwise remain and fester. Without enough of the fluid, bacteria proliferate and cause infections of the gums and teeth as well as bad breath.
To avoid this, drink water and stay well-hydrated. Suck on candy or gum without sugar to improve saliva flow, let ice chips melt in your mouth, and try coconut water which has hydrating vitamins and minerals. Brush twice each day and rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash.
Teas, coffees, and sodas can dry out things further; try to avoid or limit these as much as possible.
Gum disease, known as gingivitis, has appeared as soon as the second month of pregnancy in women who feel intense thirst but don’t listen to what their bodies are telling them. This may get progressively worse until the eighth month; after birth, the condition often begins to improve.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Drinking enough water when pregnant helps women avoid hemorrhoids or constipation and may help lessen the effects of morning sickness. It also assists the body as it struggles to find balance during this time of hormonal and physiological change. Further, it prevents tooth decay and, most importantly, ensures the nourishment of the baby.
Pregnant women should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily and add another glass for each hour of activity. Women exposed to hot conditions should drink further water as they lose fluids while sweating.
In addition to pure water, other liquids such as milk or coconut water count towards the total amount of fluids consumed.
Is Thirst a Symptom of Pregnancy? Yes, and Listen to Your Body
With an elevated metabolism, increased sweat production, larger blood volume, and fluctuating hormonal changes, pregnant women require sufficient fluids to support their bodies and growing babies. Failure to drink enough may result in dehydration, gum disease, or other complications which can be dangerous during gestation.