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How to tell if excessive thirst during pregnancy is normal or a concern

When you become pregnant, people say you’re eating for two, but what about drinking for two? Extreme thirst during early pregnancy and during every trimester is common, but we’ll look into if it’s a normal and healthy part of pregnancy.

While an increase in excessive thirst during pregnancy isn’t unusual and happens to just about every pregnant person, determining if the increase is excessive enough to indicate an issue like gestational diabetes is another question. Always consult with your doctor about your concerns.

Keep reading to find out what we learned about excessive thirst during pregnancy and what it means.

Pregnant woman drinking water

Is excessive thirst during pregnancy normal?

It certainly can be. “It’s entirely normal to feel extra thirsty during pregnancy, even during the first trimester,” says Dr. Donald Grant, a physician in the U.K.

Hunger and thirst both increase during pregnancy, so it’s just a matter of determining what is “increased” and what is “excessive.” Excessive thirst would mean waking up to drink frequently overnight and having a dry mouth, not just wanting an extra couple glasses of water. Even a huge increase in the amount of liquids you’re craving can be normal because of the large amounts of changes you’re undergoing.

Anytime you’re concerned, ask your doctor.

What are some natural causes of an increase in thirst during pregnancy?

There are many possibilities, though there’s no definitive answer and it’s likely a combination of all these.

  • The amount of blood in your body increases dramatically during pregnancy, so it would make sense the amount of fluid you take in would need to increase to create more fluid as well.
  • The pressure on your bladder leading to increased urine output could also mean you need to drink more often to keep replenishing yourself.
  • All of your body’s needs also increase during pregnancy from calorie intake to sleeping time so why would water intake be any different?
  • Hormones like estrogen that are increased during pregnancy can cause extra thirst.
  • Your kidneys are filtering more than ever and need more water for their extra work.
  • You need fluids in your body to create amniotic fluid.

None of these reasons are cause for concern and all are natural parts of pregnancy.

Pregnant woman drinking juice

How can I deal with increased thirst during pregnancy?

Listen to your body and up your water intake, but don’t add drinks like soda or coffee to quench your thirst. Keep water around you wherever you go.

Eat foods with high liquid content like watermelon and lettuce and make fruit smoothies for some variety. Sucking on ice chips also helps. Avoid salty foods like potato chips, since those will make you thirstier.

Remember that this thirst is just one symptom of pregnancy that is temporary. While constantly heading to the bathroom to pee again is annoying, don’t drink less to pee less. If it ever feels overly excessive, talk to your doctor about it.

What are some health conditions that can cause excessive thirst during pregnancy?

While an increase in thirst during pregnancy is natural, sometimes excessive thirst in pregnancy can be a sign of a serious health condition such as:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • HELLP
  • Dehydration

Pregnant people are routinely screened for gestational diabetes around week 24, so you may already have this test, regardless of your thirst. Increased thirst and dry mouth are two of the top signs of the condition along with fatigue, so certainly speak up if you are experiencing all three symptoms.

Since you need more liquid intake during pregnancy, if you’re not keeping up with your intake, you can become dehydrated, leaving you very thirsty. If your urine is a dark color and your mouth feels parched, you could be dehydrated and need to drink more water. Push fluids and seek treatment if nothing changes or if you’re unable to drink enough. Sometimes morning sickness doesn’t allow you to stay hydrated, so you may need to get IV fluids at a hospital for hydration.

Pregnant person drinking water while sitting on the couch

Only your doctor has the answers about whether your thirst is too extreme and they can point you toward a possible underlying condition that needs treatment. An increase in thirst isn’t a red flag in itself (and is, in fact, entirely expected and normal), but a parched mouth and constant thirst could be a reason to call the doctor. It’s best to be safe and ask to see if any tests are warranted than to wonder and miss something because you were too shy to ask.

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