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How to tell if extreme thirst during pregnancy is normal or cause for concern

Excessive thirst during pregnancy is common - Is it normal for you?

When you become pregnant, people say you’re eating for two, but what about drinking for two? We all know how important it is to stay hydrated, especially during pregnancy, but there’s a difference between making sure you’re drinking enough fluids and extreme thirst. Extreme thirst during early pregnancy and during every trimester can be common, but some may wonder if it’s a normal and healthy part of pregnancy.

Although excessive thirst during pregnancy isn’t all that uncommon and most pregnant people will experience bouts of extreme thirst at some point during their pregnancy, it can be indicative of issues like gestational diabetes.

Keep reading to find out what we learned about excessive thirst during pregnancy and what it could mean. As a reminder, you should always consult with your doctor about your own specific concerns.

Is excessive thirst during pregnancy normal?

pregnant-woman-drinking-water2

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 of glasses of water. Even a huge increase in the number of liquids you’re craving can be normal because of the large amounts of changes your body is undergoing.

Anytime you’re concerned, you should ask your doctor.

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

Pregnant woman drinking juice

There are many possibilities that could contribute to an increase in thirst during pregnancy. Although there’s no definitive answer, 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.

How can I deal with increased thirst during pregnancy?

Pregnant woman drinking water

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. You can also 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 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?

Pregnant woman drinking water while on the couch

While an increase in thirst during pregnancy is natural, sometimes excessive thirst in pregnancy can be a sign of a serious health condition. Gestational diabetes, HELLP, and dehydration are all reasons why you may experience excessive thirst during pregnancy.

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, you can become dehydrated if you’re not keeping up with your intake, 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.

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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