Staying Hydrated During Pregnancy

Adults are advised to drink six 8-ounce glasses of water each day, and during pregnancy this rises to eight 8-ounce glasses. This works out at around 2.5 litres of water every day. It may sound like a lot, but you should try to make sure you drink this much water each day throughout the pregnancy.

Does it have to be water?

No, you can breathe a sigh of relief, you should drink eight glasses of fluid each day, but they don’t all necessarily need to be water. Fruit juices, cordials, soft drinks, milk, soya milk and even tea and coffee all count towards your fluid intake.

Sugary drinks (sodas and juices) contain a lot of empty calories, so you may want to limit your intake of these drinks.

You should also limit your intake of caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee and soda. Not only does caffeine actually dehydrate you, but research has found that consuming over 200mg of caffeine each day increases the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women. This equates to two instant coffees, one brewed coffee or five cups of tea. The 200mg of caffeine each day should also include any caffeine from food sources such as chocolate.

If you don’t like drinking water, consider adding fruit (lemon or lime, for example) to make it more palatable.

What about fluid retention?

Some women limit their fluid intake in an attempt to avoid fluid retention. In fact, drinking more water helps to avoid fluid retention. If you are not drinking enough water, your body begins to store water, and during pregnancy this can lead to swelling.

Benefits of staying hydrated

You may have noticed that pregnant women are frequently told to stay hydrated, this is because drinking enough water can help you to avoid a number of pregnancy conditions. The following conditions can be worsened by dehydration:

  • swelling

  • headaches

  • constipation

  • hemorrhoids

  • bladder infections

  • nausea

  • skin problems

  • braxton hicks contractions

Drinking the right amount

Not many people keep track of how much they drink throughout the day, but it is worth doing during pregnancy to make sure you’re getting enough fluids. You could buy a 2.5 litre jug and fill it with water at the start of the day, and try to drink the contents before the end of the day. If you’re out and about, you may prefer to carry an 8-ounce glass with you so you can keep track of your fluid intake. By drinking out of a cup you know to be 8-ounces, you’ll know when you’ve hit your minimum target.

You don’t need to keep track of your fluid intake for the whole nine months, but it might be worth doing a couple of times so you get an idea of how much you drink. If you’re falling short of the 2.5 litre recommendation, you may have to make a concentrated effort to drink more water.

When to drink more

You should increase your fluid intake by one 8-ounce glass for each hour of exercise you do. Even if it’s just light exercise such as swimming or walking, you should still increase your fluid intake. You may find that you are thirstier on hot days too, as your body tries to cool down, so try to increase your fluid intake on these days too.

Are you staying hydrated during pregnancy?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.