Why do we need more electrolytes during pregnancy?

Why do we need more electrolytes during pregnancy?

Written by Darcey Croft.

Pregnant women have more circulating fluids in their bodies

In pregnancy, pregnant women have more circulating fluid in their bodies. This fluid volume increases by as much as 50% and gradually increases fairly early in the first trimester. Fluids are so important for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Not only does blood volume increase, but as the baby grows and your uterus expands, amniotic fluid accumulates in the uterus where it:

  • Provides baby with a protective cushion from the outside world
  • It helps their lungs develop properly (the baby breaths in amniotic fluid, which is full of lung-supporting hormones, nutrients, and antibodies)
  • Keeps a consistent temperature around baby, just like a warm bath.
  • It helps to develop their digestive system
  • Assists in nutrient delivery and the excretion of wastes
  • Supports a baby’s skeletal and muscular system development (amniotic fluid provides the right amount of room for the baby to move and kick/punch the walls of the uterus to stimulate muscular growth and bone density) 

Why is good hydration with balanced electrolytes important?

Pregnant or not, we all need adequate fluids to maintain good circulation, provide shape and structure to every cell in our bodies, help to regulate body temperature and aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. But this has increased significantly for pregnant women.

As fluid needs go up during pregnancy, electrolyte needs increase as well. Being deficient in electrolytes increases the risk of foetal growth problems. You could even have a condition or routine that is disrupting or removing much needed electrolytes. gestational diabetes or certain pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia. 

Since electrolytes essentially dissolve in fluids, it’s important that the right concentration of electrolytes is maintained even with the increased fluid needs of pregnancy. If your only response is to drink lots of water, but you don’t increase electrolyte intake, the risk of potential complications to both mother and baby also increases.

A healthy balanced diet with minimally processed foods will go a long way to provide the necessary electrolytes but adding an electrolyte supplement created especially for pregnancy will further reduce the risk of electrolyte deficiency and related complications during pregnancy.