Growing a baby is no easy feat, and most pregnant women will tell you it's one of the hardest things they've ever done.
Why? Because instead of just taking care of yourself, you're now taking care of a second person AND you're building them from scratch!
After two pregnancies, I know first hand how exhausting is it. But because of my experience and my expertise, I also know the secrets to feeling your best during pregnancy!
Psssst... one of those "secrets" that don't get enough attention is electrolytes!
If you're reading this article, I'm sure you're aware that your water intake/getting enough fluids is really important during pregnancy. But what most people, doctors included, forget to mention is that proper hydration isn't just about getting enough water, it's about getting enough electrolytes too.
In this blog post, you'll learn about:
If there's a specific section that interests you, feel free to skip to that section. Otherwise, grab your water and enjoy the read!
Electrolytes are essential minerals your body needs to function at the cellular level. The root "electro" means that they carry an electric charge and help facilitate electricity through your body. Without these electric reactions, your brain couldn't talk to your body, your nerves wouldn't respond to stimuli, and your muscles couldn't contract.
Simply put, electrolytes are one of the fundamental sources of energy for your body and any deficiencies or imbalances can create both acute and chronic problems that will impact your daily quality of life.
Electrolytes also require water to be transported and utilized in the body, which is why it's important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
The four important electrolytes are potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium, but some other notable electrolytes are chloride, phosphorus, and bicarbonate.
Each electrolyte has its own important role, but many of their important functions overlap and they all work synergistically together to meet our specific needs.
Potassium's main role in the body is to regulate fluid levels inside our cells. The amount of fluid inside our cells and what can get inside our cells determines their electric charge and how effective they are in transmitting energy to our body.
Low potassium levels affect nerve transmission and muscle function throughout your body, including your heart. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by up to 50% (PMCID: PMC4928162), so your heart has to be extra efficient and energized to take care of the extra demands.
In addition, potassium can help lower blood pressure because it helps remove excess sodium. If you're at risk for preeclampsia during pregnancy, consider checking your potassium levels.
The daily recommended amount of potassium for women is 2,600mg and increases to 2,900mg for pregnant and lactating women.
Sodium is the counterpart of potassium; it's main job is to regulate fluid levels outside our cells.
Contrary to popular belief and what you hear on the news, sodium is actually quite important for your body. You need sodium to maintain cellular homeostasis, or in other words, fluid balance.
This fluid balance affects the total water distribution in your body, which then affects your blood pressure.
Sodium also helps transport other vital nutrients into your cells like amino acids, glucose, and vitamins, all of which you need to function and grow another human being.
Lastly, salt makes your food taste good!
That being said, it's easy to get too much sodium in your diet because of processed foods, so the best way to get enough sodium (and the nourishing kind of sodium) is to prioritize making food at home, limiting packaged or processed foods, and using a high quality salt like Redmond Real Salt.
The RDI (recommended daily intake) is 2,000 mg of sodium for all women, including pregnant women.
If you struggle with preeclampsia during pregnancy, try finding an electrolyte from the list below that is a bit lower in sodium, but still has sodium in it, and try to eat at least 70% of your meals and snacks at home.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is stored primarily in the bones, but does a lot more than just make strong bones. Calcium is also responsible for blood vessel dilation and contraction, blood clotting, and hormone secretion.
Because calcium can only come from your diet, it's important to get enough calcium each day, especially during pregnancy. If you don't get enough calcium, your body will steal from the reserves in your bones.
Something important to keep in mind is that vitamin D is required for calcium absorption, so spending time in the sun each day is a great way to increase your calcium absorption naturally.
The recommended daily intake for calcium is 1,000mg for women and increases to 1,200 mg for pregnant and lactating women.
Magnesium is required for more than 600 enzymatic reactions in the body like synthesizing amino acids, managing blood sugar levels, and regulating blood pressure.
Furthermore, magnesium plays a critical role in brain function, and new research has shown a strong correlation between low magnesium levels and depression (PMID: 25748766). If you are at higher risk for postpartum depression, magnesium supplementation during pregnancy might help minimize your risk.
Magnesium may also help alleviate common pregnancy discomforts like:
I personally take a high quality electrolyte each day as well as a complete magnesium supplement during pregnancy. I found that even the best electrolytes don't top off my daily magnesium intake enough to alleviate those pregnancy symptoms I mentioned above, so I use this brand of magnesium to meet all my needs.
Just remember, this is my personal experience. Always consult with your doctor before using any supplement during pregnancy.
In simple terms, "pregnancy is associated with an increased need for water because of the expanded extracellular fluid space, the needs of the [developing] fetus, and the amniotic fluid" (National Library of Medicine). Increasing your electrolyte intake will help support and manage your increase in fluid levels and overall blood volume.
However, there are many other reasons why pregnant women need and benefit from extra electrolytes:
It takes a lot of energy metabolically, mentally, and emotionally to be pregnant. A lot of this energy comes from a cellular level.
Not only do you need to replenish the lost electrolytes you'd use for yourself, but you need to increase your total daily electrolyte levels to compensate for the extra energy it takes to grow a healthy baby.
(We know that your body will always prioritize baby, but we want you to be taken care of too, mama!)
On average, your total electrolyte intake increases by about 20%, so supplementing with an electrolyte powder is one of the best ways to meet the increased need for energy.
Magnesium and calcium work together to keep your muscles working efficiently. Each muscle relies on calcium to contract and magnesium to relax.
If you don't have enough magnesium to balance the calcium, you'll likely experience muscle cramps or spasms. And thanks to all the hormonal changes of pregnancy, you're already more susceptible to cramps and spasms (cue uterine cramps, leg cramps, and restless leg syndrome!)
Don't worry though, your body regulates the distributed amounts of each electrolyte it needs to keep this balance in line. Your job is to make sure you're getting enough of each mineral to let your body do its thing.
If the electrolyte supplement you choose doesn't have magnesium (or a decent amount of magnesium) in it, I recommend taking a complete magnesium supplement before bed each night.
My favorite brand is BioOptimizers because their magnesium contains all 7 types of magnesium without any synthetic ingredients and they also include a high dose of vitamin B6, which will help with your first trimester nausea, too.
Because pregnancy brings so many significant changes to your body physically, mentally, and emotionally, it's very likely that your sleep will be disrupted.
Between a weakened immune system, vivid dreams, and needing to pee more frequently, sometimes it feels impossible to get a good night's sleep.
One of my best tips for maximizing both the quality and quantity of your sleep is supplementing electrolytes, specifically potassium and magnesium.
A study published in 1991 showed an "increase in sleep efficiency due to a reduction in Wake After Sleep Onset (WASO)" (PMID: 1947601) after just one week of potassium supplementation.
Furthermore, research has also shown that one of the best natural remedies for poor sleep is magnesium supplementation. One study (PMCID: PMC3703169) showed significant improvements in "subjective measures of insomnia such as ISI score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, early morning awakening [and] insomnia objective measures such as concentration of serum renin, melatonin, and serum cortisol."
I personally take a magnesium supplement every night and not only do I sleep better, but I also feel more rested when I wake up and if I have to wake up in the middle of the night, I don't struggle as much to go back to sleep.
Long story short, pregnant moms are always tired and usually struggle with getting quality sleep, so supplementing with electrolytes is an easy way to alleviate both problems.
As always, talk with your doctor before taking any supplement!
Magnesium specifically helps regulate your glucose levels by initiating a process called glycolysis that happens inside your cells. During glycolysis, glucose from your food is broken down and converted into usable energy.
Because you're now nourishing your body for two people, you need to be even more efficient at converting the food you eat into usable energy, so it's important to keep your magnesium levels up.
In addition, low potassium levels have been linked to insulin resistance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes, and if you struggle to make enough insulin during pregnancy, you develop gestational diabetes.
Therefore, getting enough electrolytes, especially magnesium and potassium, are essential for helping your blood sugar during pregnancy.
Just like how electrolytes impact muscle contractions, they impact your cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels), too.
High levels of sodium can increase your risk of heart disease, so increasing your potassium intake can help counteract your sodium levels.
The American Heart Association explains that "the more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine. Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure."
This is why it's important to find an electrolyte supplement that has more potassium than sodium; it's much easier to get sodium from food than potassium, so if you're taking a daily electrolyte supplement, ideally you'd want it to have more potassium.
It's not just sodium and potassium that play a crucial role in your heart health. Magnesium has also been shown to reduce the risk and effects of high blood pressure.
In fact, a meta analysis of 34 different studies (PMID: 27402922) showed that magnesium supplementation helped lower high blood pressure in healthy adults and at-risk adults alike in just 3 months.
One of the most severe complications of pregnancy is preeclampsia (gestational-induced high blood pressure), which can cause swelling in the woman's body and low birth weight and/or premature labor with the baby.
If you have a higher risk for preeclampsia or want to minimize your risk of preeclampsia, consider taking electrolytes daily and talk to your doctor about magnesium supplementation.
Other reasons you might want to include an electrolyte supplement during pregnancy include:
One of the most common pieces of health advice given to pregnant and breastfeeding women is to drink, drink, drink.
However, plain water only does so much good. In fact, if all you have is plain water, and a lot of it, you're missing out on some major nutritional needs AND you might experience adverse effects from your hydration.
Why? Your body is made up of millions and millions of individual cells with a cell membrane for protection. Each cell is responsible for different reactions and processes in your body.
Minerals are the "spark plugs" of your cells, and certain minerals known as electrolytes are responsible for the fluid balance both inside and outside of your cells.
Basically, electrolytes help regulate what nutrients do and don't get into your cells, which determines how well your cells (and body as a whole) function each day.
Like we talked about earlier, pregnancy is incredibly demanding on your body, and because you're doing twice the work you normally do to nourish and grow two humans, you need even more help regulating nutrients and energy.
In addition, during times of stress or extreme exertion, minerals and electrolytes are the first nutrients to be used and depleted.
If you only drink water (without replenishing electrolytes), you're not replenishing half of the essential vitamins and electrolytes your body needs to function and your fluid levels will be off.
In other words, adequate hydration including plenty of fluids WITH electrolytes.
Sometimes it's hard to tell if you're dehydrated because some of the symptoms are similar to regular pregnancy symptoms, like being really tired or feeling nauseous.
That being said, here are some key signs of dehydration:
Other factors that can lead to dehydration include:
Dehydration usually refers to having an insufficient water intake, but dehydration also leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including electrolytes. However, it is possible to be deficient in minerals without being dehydrated.
One really good way to know if you're deficient in minerals is by getting a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA). Because your hair follows a 3 month cycle, a hair sample will give you a look into 3 months worth of data about your mineral intake. From there, you can see where your deficiencies are.
The only catch is that you have to pay for these out of pocket. You can buy a hair mineral test on Amazon, from an accredited company, or through a functional doctor.
I strongly recommend working with a functional health care provider if you decide to do the test so you can have the best analysis and treatment plan with your results.
Once you have those recommendations from the functional doctor, consult with your OB or pregnancy doctor and go from there.
In general, there are three main types of electrolyte supplements on the market: the electrolyte drink (sports drinks), the electrolyte powder, and the oral rehydration solution (hospital grade). On rare occasion, you might find a brand that sells electrolyte gummies, but I've only seen this once.
When it comes to making your own drinks, which I will mention below, you use real food ingredients from your fridge and your pantry to make the electrolyte solution, so these are in their own category.
As always, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider about what your options are, which brand or solution is the best fit for you, and determining what your individual needs are.
While these recommendations are backed by research and science, they don't take into account your personal needs and health history or pregnancy risk factors.
For example, if you're taking a magnesium capsule supplement like I am, you would want to find a brand that has little to no magnesium included in their formula. If you're at risk for preeclampsia, you might want to find a brand that is lower sodium and higher potassium/calcium/magnesium. If you have a history of or have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you'll want to find a zero calorie, whole foods-based electrolyte.
For this review and my best recommendations, I evaluated the top 25 electrolyte drinks on the market (including four "homemade options") and compared their cost per serving, quality of ingredients, and electrolyte ratios.
The criteria for determining what is a quality ingredient and/or ideal ratio is based on published research and nutritional science. Anything that is based on my opinion is clearly stated.
For the purpose of the graphics included above, here are the ranking criteria for each category:
Just like supplements, you should limit your concentrated electrolyte consumption to once per day, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
And most importantly, always consult with your doctor before beginning any new nutrition program or supplement.
--> If you're short on time, my top three recommendations for electrolyte drinks during pregnancy (based on price per serving, quality of ingredients, and electrolyte ratios) are Just Ingredients, Redmond Relyte, and Ultima Replenisher.
I'm obsessed with all of the Just Ingredients products because Karalynne, the founder, only uses real foods and ingredients. There is never anything artificial, manufactured, or synthetic in any of her products, and the electrolyte mixes are no different.
Not only are the different flavors amazing, but the electrolyte ratio is perfect too! According to recent research, the optimal ratio for sodium to potassium is 1:3, which means you should have at least three times as much potassium as you do sodium each day. Just Ingredients' electrolyte mixes have this 1:3 ratio as well as the other two important minerals, calcium and magnesium.
The current flavors available are Strawberry Limeade, Guava Mango, Tropical Paradise, and Orange Pineapple, but they sell out quickly, so be sure to buy them as soon as they're in stock and use the code "THEWELLNOURISHEDMAMA" to save 10% on your order!
The current cost per serving as of September 2023 is $0.83/serving.
I discovered this brand this year and my husband and I cannot live without their electrolytes!
This is a sister brand to Redmond Real Salt, an unrefined sea salt with more than 60 trace minerals in it, and Relyte has only non-GMO, all natural ingredients in it.
Relyte has a higher sodium content than most other brands, but sodium needs increase during pregnancy (and lactation), so this isn't an issue. I also like that Relyte has 400mg of potassium in it, which is one of the highest levels I've seen in a supplement. This is GOOD.
Because it is on the saltier side, it does have an acquired taste, but some flavors are less salty than others. My favorite flavor is the watermelon lime!
The current flavors are watermelon lime, lemon lime, mixed berry, mango, piña colada, and unflavored, and the current cost per serving for the scoops as of September 2023 is $0.73/serving.
Another non-toxic, clean ingredients brand that is safe for pregnant women. MixHers has tons of different supplements for every phase of life, including PMS, pregnancy, postpartum, sexual wellness, daily nutrition, and menopause.
While we don't know the exact ratio of minerals and electrolytes in the MixHers electrolyte supplement, the only ingredient is powdered coconut water, and coconut water is one of nature's best electrolytes, especially for its high potassium content.
I think this a great option if you're looking for an all natural, food-based supplement to support your healthy pregnancy.
The current flavors available are coconut lime and blueberry coconut, and the current cost per serving as of September 2023 is $1.60/serving.
I absolutely love all of the Needed products and I love that their electrolyte mix is higher in magnesium. While the sodium to potassium ratio is 1:1, they still have great amounts of each mineral in their supplement and they only use real fruit to sweeten the powder.
The current flavors available are lemon, lime, and grapefruit, and you can order them individually, in a variety pack, or start a subscription.
The cost per serving for a monthly subscription as of September 2023 is $1.28/serving.
You can use the code "MAMA20" at checkout for 20% off your first month!
Majka is well known for their "mommy" products, so it's no surprise they have an electrolyte blend for pregnancy.
While there isn't much on their nutrition label (ie how much of each electrolyte is present), it does say that organic coconut water is one of the main ingredients, which is a good sign.
They also include L-Carnitine, which "helps with energy production in the mitochondria and helps metabolize fat and glucose for energy." This means not only are you getting the hydrating electrolytes, you're also getting another nutrient that helps you better utilize the energy from the food you're consuming too!
Another perk is that they include a high dose of vitamin C, which helps protect your cells from damage and better utilize the electrolytes you're consuming.
Overall, Majka is known for their clean, organic ingredients, so I consider this a great option for pregnancy.
I don't see any specific flavors on their website, but the current cost per serving as of September 2023 is $1.50/serving.
This is another whole foods-sourced brand that boasts clean ingredients and a complete electrolyte profile, as well as plant-based iron from seaweed.
PaleoValley's formula was developed by Autumn Smith, FDNP and Holistic Nutritionist, and her husband, and they sell a variety of other all natural, whole food-sourced products as well.
My only caution with this option is the rate of absorption. Calcium, magnesium, and iron all compete for absorption when taken simultaneously, so I'm not sure how much of each of those nutrients you'll actually get from the supplement.
That being said, the average rating is 4.7 stars out of nearly 160 reviews, and I've never tried this brand, so it could work for you! Be sure to consult with your doctor before choosing an electrolyte.
The current flavors are orange, watermelon, and lemon lime, and the current cost per serving for a subscription as of September 2023 is $1.87/serving.
This is a new brand I discovered in my research and while they are one of the most expensive brands, I think they're still a good, safe option for pregnancy and their electrolytes are different than any other brand I've seen.
Nion's formula is patented with cutting edge technology and introduces the concept of negatively charged ions in their electrolyte balance. Here is a quote directly from their website:
"Right now, all other available electrolytes focus on the positive electrical charge of ions. But at the cellular level, our bodies run on a negative charge. As we grow older, our negative charge gets depleted. And neutral cell membranes mean cellular death. Electrolyte companies know this but have not been able to find a way to deliver these negative ions safely — until NION."
Another thing that makes Nion different is that their blend is mostly calcium, which I've never seen before. If you struggle to get enough calcium in your diet, this might be a good option for you.
However, if you and your doctor decide that this electrolyte supplement is a good choice for you, be sure not to take it alongside iron or magnesium, as those other nutrients will compete for absorption and essentially cancel the transaction.
Note: Nion is a new brand, so be sure to consult with your doctor before choosing this specific electrolyte blend.
The current cost per serving for a monthly subscription as of September 2023 is $2.06/serving.
Something I like about Ultima Replenisher is that they added zinc, manganese, and chloride to their formula in addition to all four electrolytes. They also have a 4:1 ratio of potassium to sodium, which is awesome, and their powder is naturally sweetened and dyed with real foods.
They also come in at one of the most affordable electrolyte supplements on the market, so combine that with their clean ingredients and optimal nutrient ratios, I think this is one of the best options for hydrating during pregnancy!
Their current flavors are blue raspberry, raspberry, watermelon, orange, grape, mocktini, cherry pomegranate, piña colada, lemonade, pink lemonade, and passionfruit.
You can also buy individual packets or canisters of either 30 servings or 90 servings. The current cost per serving of a 30 serving canister subscription is $0.63/serving.
Simple and straightforward, Nectar has clean, organic ingredients and great ratios of all the electrolytes in each serving.
My only caution is that they specify that the type of magnesium is magnesium citrate, which is a natural laxative, so that should be something you discuss with your doctor before purchasing. (Honestly though, what pregnant woman doesn't want help pooping?)
Nectar electrolytes come in six different flavors and the current cost per serving in September 2023 is $0.89/serving through Amazon.
Upon review of other website's reviews of electrolyte drinks for pregnancy, I noticed some specific brands that were repeatedly mentioned in their lists that I did not include in this review.
This is not because they're not safe or healthy, but because I, as a nutritionist, don't think they're the best electrolyte option (but they're also not the worst either).
Here are some brands that are marketed as "electrolyte drinks" that don't fit all of the criteria for being the highest quality electrolyte drink:
I want to be the first to say that at the end of the day, being hydrated is better than being hydrated. Let's make that abundantly clear.
Also, if constant vomiting has been a part of your pregnancy journey and you're struggling to keep food or fluids down, I'd rather you choose something (even if it's in this category) than nothing.
That being said, there are definitely options that are less optimal and less nourishing, especially for pregnancy. As a pregnancy and postpartum nutritionist, here are some ingredients I would avoid in my electrolyte drinks:
And here are specific brands I would avoid:
The second and third ingredients in regular gatorade are sugar and dextrose (a GMO, glyphosate-sprayed sugar), and almost every flavor has food dyes in it, from Red 40 and Blue 1 to Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.
You might ask, "okay Brooke, but what about the zero sugar Gatorade?" While the actual sugar and dextrose have been removed in zero sugar Gatorade, they were substituted with artificial sweeteners, which disrupt the gut microbiome, and the food dyes are still present.
Does this mean you can never have Gatorade again? No. Does this mean you will harm your unborn baby if you have a few Gatorades? No.
My caution is that if that you're looking for an electrolyte drink to have consistently for the purpose of nourishing your body, this isn't it.
Powerade isn't much better than Gatorade. The main sweetener is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a manufactured sweetener that is about half fructose and half glucose.
In fact, if I had to choose a sugar that, in my opinion, is worse than other sugars, it would be HFCS. Why? Scientists have discovered that HFCS can have a negative impact on your bones, gut microbes, and overall metabolism (PMID: 35433775).
In another study, pregnant and lactating mice who were given repeat exposure to HFCS had offspring with elevated levels of "adiposity and liver fat content" that "remained elevated in young adulthood" (PMID: 28447343). Wow.
And, in case you were wondering, the sugar free Powerade is similar to the sugar free Gatorade.
Now, again, does this mean you can never have Powerade again? No. Does this mean you will harm your unborn baby permanently if you have a few Powerades? No.
My caution is that if that you're looking for an electrolyte drink to have consistently for the purpose of nourishing your body, this isn't it.
While this is usually the recommended electrolyte if you've been vomiting nonstop for days and/or you're dehydrated enough to go to the hospital, a last resort if you will, it's not my recommendation for daily electrolyte consumption. This is basically an oral rehydration solution you can get at the store instead of the hospital.
Pedialyte's main sweetener is "anhydrous dextrose," which basically means it's powdered GMO corn sugar (which also happens to be the base of HFCS) that was chemically manufactured. This drink is also filled with artificial flavors, preservatives, and food dyes, specifically Red 40 and/or Blue 1.
So basically all the things we want to avoid during pregnancy (and in general, really) are in this one, too.
Again, does this mean you can never have Pedialyte again? No. Does this mean you will harm your unborn baby permanently if you have a few Pedialytes during pregnancy? No.
My caution is that if that you're looking for an electrolyte drink to have consistently for the purpose of nourishing your body, this isn't it.
My personal take on the classic adrenal cocktail or mocktail (listed below). Adrenal cocktails have all the elements to boost cellular hydration, but because they're mostly sugar, they spike your blood glucose levels and that's not going to help your body.
So, what I did is I took all the elements of an adrenal mocktail and added protein, fat, and fiber to it so your blood sugar levels will stay balanced and you can nourish your adrenals with a full meal, not just a low calorie drink.
I've been making these smoothies regularly for over 6 months now (this includes the end of my second pregnancy and early postpartum) and I cannot believe how much energy I have.
Since publishing my recipe, I've had tons of mamas report night and day differences in their energy levels too! One mama said: "I was hesitant at first to think a smoothie could help me feel better being 20 weeks pregnant chasing a one year old around and actively working out daily BUT this smoothie does EVERYTHING it says it will and more. I had such sustained energy ALL DAY! No coffee just smoothie!"
Another mama said, "I made your adrenal smoothie for the first time this morning and I noticed a difference in my energy levels within just a couple hours! I never knew I could feel this energized at 35 weeks pregnant!"
You can grab my adrenal smoothie recipe here and try out any of the 10 flavors I created. They're all so good and once you realize how incredible they are, you'll be making them regularly!
Don't be fooled by the "cocktail," this drink doesn't actually have any alcohol in it! (It really should be called a "mocktail" but I'm not the one who came up with the idea.)
While these are marketed towards your adrenals, they are actually a DIY electrolyte with some added nutrients like vitamin C. And if you make them like I do, you can add protein and fat to make sure you're balancing your blood sugar too.
The basic recipe for an adrenal cocktail has a source of vitamin C, coconut, potassium, and salt. The key is to choose fruit juices high in vitamin C, like orange juice, grapefruit juice, or pineapple juice. You could also use apple juice, but I haven't tried an adrenal cocktail with apple juice.
Note that fruit juice is different than fruit-infused water, so make sure you're using 100% unsweetened fruit juice for your recipes.
The recipe that I have on repeat is for a piña colada adrenal cocktail and you'll need the following ingredients:
Now, when I say lemonade, I'm talking about homemade lemonade with high quality ingredients, not the powdered mix filled with a lot of sugar that you buy at the store.
To make a simple, healthy lemonade, add the following to a tall glass of water or 16 ounce water bottle:
I wouldn't be a real nutritionist if I didn't share whole food sources of nutrients, would I?
As always, I encourage a food-first approach to your health, especially during pregnancy. If that's where you want to start with your electrolytes, here's some of my favorite food sources of electrolytes:
If there's one simple swap you make to your diet, it's this one. Anytime you need to cook noodles or rice or make a soup, use bone broth instead of regular broth or stock! Bone broth is an amazing source of potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, and chloride, as well as essential amino acids and collagen. It's basically a super "food" that packs in all the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy.
Nature's electrolyte. Coconut water is high in potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, and the sodium to potassium ratio is nearly perfect. You can buy this as an actual "drink" at the grocery store, but make sure to choose the brand with no added sugar or extra ingredients.
Red raspberry leaf tea, nettle tea, and chamomile tea are all great sources of electrolytes.
Another benefit to red raspberry leaf tea is its observed benefits towards shorter labor and less risk of uterine rupture or c-section (PMID: 10754818), so you get double points for that tea!
Spinach, kale, and arugula are fantastic sources of magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and they're really easy to add to salads, smoothies, and casseroles.
One of my favorite superfoods for pregnancy! Avocados are high in magnesium and potassium, as well as fiber and monounsaturated fats, so not only are you getting your minerals, but you're also improving digestion, brain function, and balancing your blood sugar all at the same time.
The classic recommendation for potassium. Try adding half a banana to your morning smoothie or making this healthy banana split for dessert! Bonus points if you pair your banana with a nut or seed butter.
I love recommending watermelon for my pregnant mamas because it counts towards your hydration and electrolyte intake. Not only do you get 14% DV of potassium in one serving (about 572g), you also get 2 grams of fiber and lots of vitamin C.
Believe it or not, potatoes have up to 6 times more potassium than bananas! This family of potassium-rich foods includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams.
These include lentils and most beans. Some of the beans highest in potassium, magnesium, and calcium are navy beans, black beans, and edamame. Try adding beans to your taco night or your homemade chili.
Specifically almonds, cashews, and chia seeds. I love eating almond butter with bananas, snacking on cashews, and adding chia seeds to my smoothies.
Yogurt, milk, and cheese are obvious sources of calcium, but they also have good amounts of magnesium, potassium, and sodium too.
In fact, cottage cheese is a fantastic source of healthy sodium, as well as protein. I love having a glass of organic milk with my breakfast or enjoying a greek yogurt parfait as an afternoon snack.
And in just 8 ounces (230ml) of 1% milk, you get about 130mg sodium, 350mg potassium, and 300mg calcium, as well as a ton of other essential nutrients for pregnancy like vitamin D, protein, and iodine.
My final piece of evidence for including electrolytes in your pregnancy routine is that they will help you prepare for birth and postpartum. If you enter postpartum depleted in essential nutrients like minerals and electrolytes, you're more likely to struggle with your milk supply, experience mom rage, and fail to completely heal physically from the demands of pregnancy.
Furthermore, we know that nutrient deficiencies and poor gut health are directly related to mental health diseases like depression and anxiety, so ensuring you're staying on top of your minerals and electrolytes will help minimize your risk of postpartum depression and anxiety.
In fact, recent research (PMCID: PMC2738337) has shown that supplementing with magnesium alone greatly reduces symptoms of depression in less than one week. Imagine how much better your postpartum experience could be if you were proactive and stayed on top of your electrolytes beforehand!
I hope you found this article helpful. Please leave a comment below if you learned something or tried a brand I recommended!
I'd also love to hear if you use a brand of electrolytes that I haven't reviewed or mentioned, so drop a comment below and I'll add it to my list!
Most pregnant women know staying hydrated is important, but are drinking electrolytes helpful during pregnancy? Are they safe? What are the best brands and recipes for electrolytes? Read this article to learn all about electrolytes during pregnancy!
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