The Importance of Hydration When Trying to Get Pregnant
We put a lot of emphasis on the healthy vitamins and foods you should be eating when trying to conceive, but what about hydration? Keep reading to learn about the beneficial effects of water for fertility.
By OBGYN Dr. Kenosha Gleaton
The vitamins and minerals you’re consuming through your prenatal vitamins and healthy diet are key factors for maintaining a healthy lifestyle when trying to get pregnant, but in order to use these nutrients correctly, your body needs plenty of water. Good hydration is necessary during every step of your pregnancy journey, especially when trying to conceive.
What does good hydration look like?
Water makes up about two thirds of the adult body, and close to 80% of a newborn's body. Water is essential for digestion, body temperature regulation, balancing chemicals, and transporting nutrients. Without water, our organs wouldn’t be able to properly function. When you’re trying to conceive (TTC), it’s important to nourish your body in all the ways possible to create a healthy environment for a fetus to thrive. If you’re TTC, try to drink at least six cups of water a day to stay hydrated. Signs of good hydration are clear to light yellow urine, odorless urine, and no feelings of extreme thirst.
Why electrolytes are important
Hydration is about more than how much water you’re drinking. The amount of minerals and ions in your body also play a huge role in how your body utilizes water and balances chemicals. These minerals and ions are known as electrolytes, and they are found in nearly every cell and fluid in the body. Electrolytes are dissolved minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium and help your body balance fluid levels to keep a healthy balance of water in the cells and tissues that need it most. When water is branded as purified or filtered, it may not always contain minerals. Some impurities found in groundwater or tap water should be removed, like harsh chemicals, pollutants, bacteria, etc., but in order to form electrolytes, you need to be consuming certain minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and more through water and diet. Mineral intake and electrolyte balance are also supported by eating a balanced diet and taking a multivitamin, especially when preparing for pregnancy. Shop Natalist Supplements and Hydration & Energy Electrolyte Drink Mix!
Hydration and fertility
Proper hydration is important for both females and males when trying to conceive.
Research shows that dehydration in men may lead to poor quality erections, low semen volume, and an increased chance of prostate infections. Another study found that electrolyte imbalance is associated with a decrease in sperm motility and loss of sperm capacitation (the changes sperm go through in order to fertilize an egg). Consider a male prenatal vitamin to further support male fertility.
Dehydration in women is associated with vaginal dryness and a higher risk of yeast infections. Vaginal fluid plays a big role in fertility and the appropriate consistency of cervical mucus is needed for sperm to thrive. Without adequate water intake, cervical mucus is more likely to be dry, making conception more difficult. Research also shows that electrolyte imbalance causes changes in follicular fluid, restricting follicular growth and making it more difficult for ovulation to occur.
Key electrolytes and fertility
Some key important electrolytes are choline, potassium, magnesium, and sodium. These minerals are vital for balancing the amount of water in the body and moving important nutrients throughout the body as needed. Electrolytes play a role in making sure that our organs, muscles, and nerves work properly. Research shows that one of these electrolytes may be especially important for trying to get pregnant.
Studies show that choline supplementation increases ovarian function and the amount of antral follicles found in the ovaries. Choline has also been found to improve luteinizing hormone receptors in cells, which are important for fertility hormone regulation. In men, choline has been shown to improve sperm motility, function, and morphology. This data shows that choline has benefits for both male and female reproductive health, as well as helping to maintain fluid balance.
Dehydration symptoms and treatment
If you’re concerned about your hydration levels, keep an eye out for dehydration symptoms. The most obvious signs are dark urine, urine with a strong smell, and thirst. Other signs include dry mouth, fatigue, and infrequent urination. Severe dehydration may cause rapid heartbeat, confusion, dizziness, and lethargy. You should see a healthcare provider immediately if you experience any signs of dehydration.
To treat dehydration, drink plenty of fluids and maybe opt for a drink that includes electrolytes. It can also be helpful to eat something salty to ensure adequate sodium levels. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and added sugars when you’re attempting to quench your thirst, as these can all contribute to dehydration. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.
Who is at risk of dehydration
Dehydration can occur when you aren’t taking in enough water to replenish the fluids being lost. We lose fluids every day through sweating, going to the bathroom, and even through talking and breathing. There are also some factors that can contribute to greater water loss, such as taking diuretics (water pills) which can increase urination, medical conditions, imbalanced hormones, blood loss, and more. Some people are at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated, such as babies and infants, elderly individuals, athletes, and those with certain health conditions such as diabetes, kidney or liver disease, and alcoholism.
In order to utilize nutrients properly, your body needs to be adequately hydrated.
Electrolytes are necessary for helping your body use and move water properly.
Signs of hydration include clear to light yellow urine, no strong urine odor, and quenched thirst.
Research shows that adequate hydration in males can benefit sperm health, erections, and semen volume.
Studies show that hydration is important for female fertility by improving vaginal dryness and follicular growth.
Electrolyte balance, specifically choline, is also vital for fertility, and some studies show it may help improve ovarian function and sperm parameters.
The best treatment for dehydration is consuming fluids and electrolytes. Seek medical attention if you notice any signs of severe dehydration.