Hydration and Electrolytes

Posted by Madeline Depman on Jul 19th 2022

Hydration and Electrolytes

I’m back home in Minnesota and the weather is so much warmer than it has been in Tacoma. I have been continuing to exercise on an “as-it-feels-good basis”. I am not doing any intensity and I generally keep my workouts pretty short, especially if I am out in the sun or warmer weather. I feel really lucky to still feel great on the bike and out hiking at 24 weeks! There are increased hydration requirements during pregnancy even without exercise. Because I am continuing to exercise and now combined with the warmer weather (and increased sweating) I have been trying to focus even more on hydration.

I’ve compiled some of my reading below that explain why hydration and proper electrolyte intake are so important while pregnant.

Proper hydration during pregnancy is critical for a variety of reasons for both fetal and maternal health. Fluids support fetal circulation, amniotic fluid and increased maternal blood volume. Insufficient fluid intake is also linked to preterm birth and low fetal body weight.

Pregnant women also lose more electrolytes due to more frequent urination and the increased nutrient demand. Electrolytes are responsible for maintaining fluid balance, aiding blood flow, and regulating blood pressure. Some of the key electrolytes required during pregnancy are sodium and magnesium. Restricting sodium can lead to lower birth weight, decreased milk production and increased blood pressure in the mother (great news for me, I love my food salty!). Magnesium assists in regulating body temperature, protein synthesis and nerve and muscle cell electrical potentials. One study showed that an increased magnesium supplementation group (300mg vs 100mg) had less complications. Lack of magnesium can stunt fetal growth and increase the mother’s blood pressure.

I’ve outlined below what I am doing (I am not a doctor nor a dietician, so this is not medical advice – just sharing my experience). I’ve found that the best way for me to stay properly hydrated is by drinking lots of water and by using a mix (I use Flow Formulas) to help with electrolyte replacement. The endurance mix has both calories and high sodium replacement which I use during rides, hikes and runs. I also use the electrolyte replacement mix throughout the day. The Flow Formulas mixes do not include magnesium supplement, so I take an additional magnesium vitamin as recommended by my doctor.

I also use Anderson’s Maple Syrup, pure maple syrup naturally contains electrolytes, magnesium, potassium, zinc and antioxidants. Other sugars and sweeteners do not naturally contain electrolytes. It works out well that I love maple syrup and it makes the baby wiggle around to have that little boost of sugar!