It is critically important for female athletes to understand how their cycle and hormonal balance impacts their hydration needs so they can learn how to hydrate in any given situation.
Female athletes need to be particularly aware of the balancing act of maintaining blood volume during exercise without inducing swelling of the joints, sausage fingers and toes etc. and with just the right amount of Salt especially during the mid-luteal and menses phases of their cycle. Because of the hormonal shifts females will retain fluids during the mid-luteal phase but then rapidly release them during menses. This makes proper hydration quite challenging during these periods because you need the right balance of water and electrolytes to thermo regulate but too much can exacerbate swelling.
During pregnancy blood volume increases by 50% which dictates an increase in fluid and electrolytes. This is why so many women crave salty foods during pregnancy. Because most female athletes exercise through their pregnancy it is vitally important to be aware of this dynamic physiological shift and adjust accordingly as they progress through their pregnancy.