Getting sick is never fun, but it’s even worse when you’re pregnant. You’re worried about getting better and making sure your unborn baby stays healthy. The biggest thing you need to worry about when you have the stomach flu during pregnancy is dehydration. Depending on your symptoms, you can become dehydrated from throwing up, having diarrhea, or even from just having a fever. And the higher the fever, the more likely you are to lose fluids because of it.
The good news is that most stomach viruses are short-lived. But it can seem like forever when you’re going through it.
Tips to Help You Get Enough Fluids
- Small, frequent sips. When you drink, drink a little bit at a time and then give your tummy a chance to rest.
- Ice chips. Sucking on ice chips can be a way to get fluids without drinking. Because you are sucking on them, it can be an easy way to make sure you’re not eating/drinking too quickly.
- “Fluid-like” foods. Popsicles, clear broth, or jello might be another option for you if traditional liquids aren’t working for you right now. They can help you meet your fluid needs.
Sign of Dehydration
- Urine color. The easiest way to tell if you’re getting dehydrated is to look at the color or your urine. Aim for urine that is pale yellow in color. If it’s dark yellow or even a deep, bright yellow, that can be a sign that you’re already dehydrated.
It’s recommended to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water or other non-caffeinated beverages per day when you’re not sick. When you have the stomach flu during pregnancy and are losing fluids through vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, your fluid needs are actually higher. Aim to drink eight to twelve 8-ounce glasses of water other qualifying beverages per day.
Water vs. Electrolyte Replacement Drinks
One question that often comes up is whether to drink water or an electrolyte replacement drink. Electrolytes are minerals that are transported through bodily fluids and that carry an electrical charge. Potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, and calcium are all examples of electrolytes. The list of what they do in the body is too big to go through…but they’re important. Not only do we need them in our body, but we need them to be balanced – in the right amounts. If you are losing too many electrolytes, they need to be replaced. Water doesn’t contain electrolytes, but some beverages are fortified with electrolytes. Electrolyte replacement drinks include Gatorade, Powerade, and Pedialyte.
The answer to which one you should drink really has to do with how bad your symptoms are. Generally speaking, the more severe your symptoms are, the more likely you are to have lost electrolytes. This is a case where I can’t give you a simple answer. My recommendation would be to talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider to see what they recommend.
This might be a good time to remind everyone you live with about hand-washing. The last thing you want to deal with when you’re finally feeling better is a sick child or spouse who managed to pick up whatever virus you just got rid of!
Have you had to deal with the stomach flu during a pregnancy? What tips or tricks did you find to help you stay hydrated? Let me know in the comments below.