We’ve all heard that it’s important to stay hydrated. But how much water should you drink during pregnancy? Does that 8 glasses a day rule still apply? And do other liquids count, or just water?
Once again, something that has always felt pretty simple, is suddenly complicated when it’s part of pregnancy or lactation. Let’s dive into the recommendations, and learn some tips to make this habit stick.
What Happens if You Get Dehydrated?
Let’s start with the end in mind. Why do we care about water intake? Because dehydration is so detrimental to pregnancy.
Serious complications of dehydration include kidney stones or urinary tract infections, swelling, low amniotic fluid, birth defects and preterm birth.
Signs of dehydration include headaches, sluggishness, being overheated, and dark colored urine (think: the color of apple juice).Vector illustration of a visual poster: Urine Color Chart. Accessed from Urology Specialists of Georgia.
While avoiding dehydration is the ultimate goal, there are so many benefits above and beyond that.
Why is Water Important During Pregnancy?
Your baby is literally swimming in water! Amniotic fluid and blood are primarily water, and most reactions in the body occur in water. In addition, water is a main way that your body eliminates toxins (through urine).
Water can help improve digestion, which includes relieving constipation. Additionally, being well-hydrated can reduce swelling in hands and feet, prevent dry, itchy skin, and help reduce muscle cramps and headaches. In addition, water helps regulate body temperature and can reduce the risk of preterm labor.
How Much Water Should You Drink During Pregnancy?
Short answer: You need about 100 oz of fluids per day during pregnancy. That’s 10-12 cups of fluid or 2.3 liters.
Notice that I said fluids here, and not water. Water is not the only source of hydration. You can get fluids from other liquids, and even from many foods.
Don’t Forget to Factor in Sweat
If you sweat more, you need more fluids. During exercise or summer months, it’s important to have a hydration plan. Avoid overheating by having water around at all times.
What Else Can You Drink Besides Water?
Good news, there is so much more than just plain water!
How Can You Get More Water into a Day?
Ok, so you’re sold on meeting hydration needs, and even found a few suggestions on other beverages. You now how much water you should drink during pregnancy, but how do you make this an actual habit? Here are some suggestions.
Can you drink too much water pregnant?
It's possible to drink too much water when you are pregnant, but it's not easy to do so. Morning sickness, acid reflux and tiny bladders usually prevent you from chugging too much water throughout the day.
Is 4 liters of water a day too much while pregnant?
You need to drink 6 to 8 medium (200ml) glasses of water or fluid a day, or 1.6 litres. All drinks count, including hot drinks such as decaf tea and coffee. It is important to limit drinks that contain caffeine during pregnancy, as too much can affect your growing baby, this includes energy drinks and cola.
Is 2 liters of water a day enough while pregnant?
Since you need more water during pregnancy, how much is enough? It's recommended that you drink 8-12 glasses of water a day, or 2.3 liters. If your trips to the bathroom are frequent and your urine is pale or colorless, you're drinking is on track.
What happens if I don't drink enough water while pregnant?
Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to serious pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor. These risks, in turn, can lead to birth defects due to lack of water and nutritional support for your baby.