Pregnancy: Intense thirst during pregnancy

I am four weeks pregnant and have been exceptionally thirsty. I have trouble sleeping at night because I wake up with a very dry mouth. Is this normal?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Thirst is usually related to the amount of water your body is losing through urination, perspiration, and evaporation. During pregnancy, your metabolic rate increases so you are losing larger amounts of water. Your body is also conserving water, preparing for added blood volume and for the increased demands of pregnancy. Increased thirst is a necessary adaptation which encourages you to drink more and can be very normal.

When thirst is excessive, however, care providers may begin to think about diabetes mellitus. Typically you would also experience fatigue and frequent urination but these symptoms are often present in pregnancy without diabetes as well.

If you have a previous history of gestational diabetes or a close relative with diabetes, you may wish to ask your provider to do screening earlier than the typical 24 to 28 week time. A one hour screen consists of drinking 100 gm. of glucose in a cola or orange drink at your clinic. One hour later, a blood sample is drawn. If the results are elevated, the test is repeated as a three hour test.

While thirst may be normal, it is worthwhile to mention it to your care provider.

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