Why is Staying Hydrated Important When Pregnant?

Congratulations! You're embarking on one of the greatest adventures in life: parenthood. Along with other health and wellness measures like proper nutrition, an important part of a healthy pregnancy is getting enough hydration. Making sure your water intake during pregnancy is at optimal levels will ensure that you and your baby are both happy and healthy. 

In this article, we'll address common questions and concerns about water intake during pregnancy, including:

  • How to have a healthy pregnancy
  • How much water to drink when pregnant
  • Why is drinking water important while pregnant?
  • Is lemon water good for pregnant women?

Benefits of Drinking Water During Pregnancy

Staying adequately hydrated is essential for the average adult to maintain health and wellness, but drinking water during pregnancy is even more important. According to medical experts, drinking the recommended amount of water intake during pregnancy has a long list of benefits for both you and the baby. 

Lupe Cruz, a registered nurse and board-certified midwife, points out how drinking water during pregnancy supports essential bodily functions. As she explains, "When you're pregnant, you need more water than the average person in order to form amniotic fluid, produce extra blood, build new tissue, carry nutrients, enhance digestion, and flush out waste and toxins." She also stresses the importance of staying on top of your hydration during hot summer months because it maintains a balanced body temperature. Whatever the weather, a healthy amount of water intake also has the following benefits during pregnancy: 

  • Decreases constipation
  • Prevents hemorrhoids
  • Reduces swelling
  • Softens skin
  • Boosts energy
  • Reduces risk of urinary tract infections
  • Decreases risk of labor/birth complications

How Much Water Should a Pregnant Woman Drink?

If you’re wondering how to have a healthy pregnancy, proper hydration should definitely be on your to-do list. But exactly how much water do you need to drink while pregnant? For those with a bun in the oven, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises drinking eight to 12 cups (64 to 96 oz) of water per day. Shooting for these water drinking goals will ensure that you and your baby get all the benefits of healthy hydration. But keep in mind that these are general guidelines. You may need more water depending on different factors like hot weather or exercising. Also, as your pregnancy progresses, your water needs will change with each trimester.

  • First trimester: During the first trimester, common symptoms of morning sickness like vomiting and nausea can make it difficult to keep anything down, including fluids. If this scenario causes you to have trouble drinking water during pregnancy, medical experts from Healthline recommend nibbling on salty crackers, which will stimulate the thirst centers in the brain and motivate you to drink water. Try to sip on more fluids than usual and add electrolyte powder to your water to replace any fluid loss from vomiting.
  • Second Trimester: At this stage in the pregnancy, morning sickness usually becomes less frequent, making it easier to stick to your water drinking regimen. Keep in mind that you may need to boost your drinking from eight cups per day up to 10, due to the increase in blood volume you’ll experience. Drinking 10 cups might seem like a lot of water, but it adds up over the course of the day if you take lots of sips instead of a few large gulps all at once. 
  • Third trimester: Compared to preconception levels, blood volume in the body significantly increases during pregnancy and peaks at the third trimester by 50 to 60%. That's why staying hydrated during this stage is incredibly important. In fact, dehydration can increase the chances of cramping, which is no fun and can be confused with actual labor contractions. 

Signs of Dehydration in Pregnancy

For anyone that’s expecting, dehydration in pregnancy is definitely unpleasant but not uncommon. The body goes through major changes while it creates another tiny human, including weight gain, which is mostly caused by extra water that the baby needs. This increase in water continues after childbirth with nursing mothers. Pregnant women can also experience water loss through symptoms of morning sickness like nausea and vomiting. Together, these scenarios can make the body more susceptible to dehydration. Here are common signs and symptoms of mild dehydration to look out for: 

  • Fatigue
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Overheating 
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth

Tips for Staying Hydrated During Pregnancy

If you get dehydrated during your pregnancy, don't worry. Most of the time, mild dehydration is common and non-life-threatening. And there are lots of tried and true solutions for ramping up your hydration quickly and safely. If your urine is pale or colorless and bathroom trips are less frequent, your hydration is right on track. 

Drink Before You Feel Thirsty

The best way to stay hydrated while pregnant is to not wait until you get to the point where you feel thirsty and need to chug a lot of water in one go. If you feel thirsty, that means that you are already slightly dehydrated. Instead, steadily hydrate with small sips of water throughout the day before you feel thirsty. This will be less overwhelming and help you reach your goal of 8 to 12 cups of water per day. 

Eat Foods with High Water Content

Another common issue is water aversion during pregnancy, due to nausea and vomiting from morning sickness. Along with nibbling on salty foods like crackers to stimulate thirst, you can also boost your water intake with juicy fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumbers. According to nutritionists at the Mayo Clinic, 20% of water intake comes from food, which makes grazing on snacks with high water content a healthy habit for you and your baby. 

Invest in a Stainless Steel Reusable Drinkware

As you prepare your nest for the little one to arrive, you and your family probably have a lot to do, so check off an important part of your pregnancy health off the list by investing in a stainless steel water bottle from Iron Flask. The 64 oz wide mouth bottle equals about 8 cups, which makes it easy to track the recommended amount of water for pregnant women. The non-toxic stainless steel body and BPA-free lids make it the healthier choice compared to plastic bottles. Like the Iron Flask line of tumblers and mugs, the double wall of vacuum insulation also ensures that your water stays nice and cool, helping keep your body temperature balanced during warm weather. 

Drink Contaminant-free Water

Bottled water might seem like the most convenient choice, but it's not necessarily the safest. Not only are water bottles bad for the environment, but the number of contaminants they are allowed to contain is not regulated by the FDA. Your best bet is to fill a non-toxic stainless steel bottle with filtered tap water. Some home water filters include a water tester, giving you 100% peace of mind that your water is free of any contaminants that can harm the baby. 

Add Electrolyte Powder to Water 

The loss of water and electrolytes is a concern for many pregnant women that experience symptoms of morning sickness. To counteract any fluid loss, medical experts recommend jump-starting your hydration by adding an electrolyte powder to your water. Look for a medical-grade product that has a balanced amount of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and glucose. 

Enhance H2O with Natural Flavor Infusions

It's common knowledge that drinking water instead of coffee or sodas is the healthier option, especially for pregnant women. But H2O can get boring after consuming eight to 10 cups in a single day. Add some flavor and a touch of nutritional value to your water by infusing it with fresh fruit like berries and lemons, which have antioxidants, Vitamin C, and a fresh and fruity taste. Slice up the fruit for a quick infusion and you’ll be well on your way to healthy hydration. 

Avoid the Heat

If you’re outside in the heat during your pregnancy, chances are you’ll start sweating, one of the quickest ways to lose water. Avoid the heat and stay indoors in the air conditioning; it’s a good idea to stay inside until early in the day or in the evening when the temperatures are mild. This way you can avoid overheating and also reduce your risk of mild dehydration.

Drink a Glass of Water Before Bed

When you sleep, your body goes into its peak healing and regenerating mode, which is why it's important to get a dose of hydration before you drift off in the p.m. Being hydrated before bed will help your body eliminate toxins more efficiently and also boost the strength of the immune system, along with your muscles, skin, and digestive tract. This healthy habit also adds a significant amount of water to your overall hydration intake for the day.

If you're sporting a baby bump, drinking water during pregnancy should be a top priority as you prepare for your new arrival. Bringing life into this world is a huge responsibility but now that you know how to hydrate while pregnant, you can follow these expert-recommended tips and expect a healthy bundle of joy when you're expecting.

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