Regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not, getting enough water intake is an absolute necessity for all of us if we plan to lead a healthy, problem-free life.
It’s already important enough outside the context of a pregnancy, so you can only imagine how much more important it is now that you’re caring for two and responsible for the growth and development of a little bundle of joy that you’re soon going to give birth to.
How Much Water Should I Drink While Pregnant?
In general, and this specifically coming from the Institute Of Medicine, experts recommend that you drink between 8 to 10 8-ounce cups of water on a daily basis to remain properly hydrated.
Keep in mind, though, that you also take in water from other sources in a day’s time, such as fruits, vegetables and other beverages.
Also, don’t try to limit yourself to a range of water intake on a daily basis just because you read somewhere that that’s what you should strive for.
No two pregnant women are completely alike, and water intake needs are likely to differ based on many different factors that might come into play.
What’s it like where you live? Does it get exceptionally hot or a bit too cold? What’s your physical activity routine during pregnancy looking like? Do you take part in moderate exercise, vigorous exercise or very little to no exercise at all?
All of these factors (and many more) can mean you may need much more or much less water to stay properly hydrated than another pregnant woman living in different circumstances.
Now, having to drink 8 to 10 8-ounce cups of water on a daily basis may seem like a difficult task you’ll be coming up against, especially if you’re unlucky enough to experience constant morning sickness.
For that reason, you have to be smart with the way you approach water intake.
For starters, don’t try chugging down an 8-ounce glass of water all at once in one sitting. Instead, gradually sip your way through it so you don’t trigger nausea and end up throwing up what you’ve just taken in.
Does It Differ Depending On Which Trimester I’m In?
Yes, but not that much.
Experts believe that you can take it a bit easy during early pregnancy and drink around 1.5 liters of water a day up until halfway through your second trimester, but that should change as you approach your third trimester – where you’ll have to slightly bump it up to a minimum of 2 liters a day to support your growing baby this far into your pregnancy.
Does It Matter What Kind Of Water I Drink?
No, not really.
Whether you choose to drink bottled water or tap water, it’s all the same and will benefit you the same way.
It’s all the same H20, momma!
Make Sure The Water Is Clean
You should, however, always ensure that the water you’re drinking while pregnant is as clean as can be.
Don’t assume that the water you’re drinking is 100% safe just because it’s coming to you through a public water system, you’d be surprised to learn about the amounts of chemicals it might have in it – all of which can cause great harm to your baby.
Don’t Wait Until You Feel Thirsty
Whatever you do, just don’t put off drinking water until after you start feeling thirsty.
Procrastinating drinking water until you actually feel thirsty is a sign from your body that you’re already dehydrated to a certain extent, so it’s already late.
You should be keeping up with your water intake spaced out through the day before you begin feeling thirsty.
How Can I Know If I’m Getting Enough Water While Pregnant?
1) Urine Color
Pay close attention to the color of you’re urine when you’re in the bathroom doing your thing.
Does is look dark yellow? The more visibly yellow your urine looks and the darker it is, the more telling a sign this is that you’re not giving your body enough water it needs.
On the other hand, you can tell that you’re getting enough water in a day’s time and that you’re not dehydrated when your urine has a pale yellow color to it – or even better yet, transparent.
2) Trips To The Bathroom
I know it’s annoying and no one in their right mind really enjoys going back and forth to the bathroom, but frequent trips to the bathroom for urination means that you’re giving your body the water it needs – especially if (as noted above) the urine color is on the lighter side.
Why Should I Drink Enough Water During Pregnancy?
You don’t really need a list of reasons for this, as we all know we need to do this for our own benefit – but if you insist on one to be convinced you need to do this, then here you go!
First and foremost, dehydration during pregnancy is a nightmare. It can aggravate your morning sickness and send you into a vicious circle of vomiting, it can give you headaches that are a pain in the neck (literally), and it can give you all sorts of cramps that I’m sure you’re already having enough of this far into your pregnancy already.
If you notice that you’re lately unusually fatigued and burned out, in addition to getting frequent headaches mentioned above, then dehydration is most likely the culprit.
2) Getting Rid Of Waste
Drinking enough water is important enough to ensure your body can eliminate waste out of its system as needed, and is now 2 times as important since you’re eating for two and – well – eliminating waste for two as well.
3) Delivering Nutrients To The Baby
You do want your baby to be getting all the nutrients they possibly can while you’re pregnant with them, right?
All the colorful fruits and vegetables you’re eating, all those prenatal vitamins you’re taking, as well as any other supplements your doctor may have you on at the time – for these essential nutrients (vitamins and minerals) to successfully make their way to the growing baby inside of you, you’ll need enough water to have them “shipped” over there.
Ensuring proper water intake while pregnant will maintain enough amniotic fluid in your body to support your growing baby’s needs.
4) Digestive Problems
If you’re well into your pregnancy by now, or this is not the first time you’ve conceived and went on to give birth to a little bundle of joy, you know from first hand experience how troubled the digestive system can become.
As a matter of fact, you’re going to need much more than a hint on this one, pay close attention to this: Around half of pregnant women experience constipation, which – if not dealt with straight away – can easily lead to more serious (and painful) problems such as hemorrhoids, fissures, and a whole lot of bleeding.
Constipation during pregnancy is due to many different factors, but is often attributed to the increase in levels of the hormone progesterone in the body, which leads to the slowing down of digestive system functions and food moving through slower than usual.
5) Urinary Tract Infection
The chances of you experiencing urinary tract infection increase during pregnancy, and if there’s one thing you absolutely have to get right to prevent this condition from worsening and gradually taking over your day to day life, it’s drinking enough water on a regular basis.
By staying on top of your water intake and frequently going in and out of the bathroom to urinate, you’ll be keeping your urine diluted and preventing urine from staying in your bladder for a very long time at once (which forms a safe haven that harmful bacteria thrive in).
6) Pre Term Labor
Not drinking adequate enough amounts of water on a daily basis during pregnancy might just send you into pre-term labor in your third trimester, because of the uterine contractions you’ll likely experience when dehydrated.
7) Breastfeeding After Delivery
The water intake habits you form and practice during pregnancy will carry on with you after you give birth to your baby, especially if you plan on breastfeeding your little one instead of solely relying on formula milk.
A huge percentage of breast milk is comprised of water – 88%, in fact – so to ensure proper lactation when the time comes for you to breastfeed your little one, it’s important to have had the basics of proper hydration nailed down way before.
When pregnant, you’re always going to feel as if it’s warmer than it actually is in reality – and that’s because of overheating being common when expecting.
Drinking enough water throughout the day can help take care of this problem by eliminating body heat through sweat.
This is something you’ll especially want to pay attention to if it’s unusually hot outside because, well, summer wants to make its presence known!
As you may have already experienced by now, depending on which trimester you’re currently in and whether or not this is your first time expecting, heartburn and indigestion are fairly common problems during pregnancy.
Before trying to treat these problems with any other remedies or medication (ones which might not be pregnancy safe to begin with), getting the basics nailed down and drinking enough water through the day often helps with these two conditions.
Do Other Beverages Count Towards My Water Intake?
Yes, any beverages you drink do technically count towards the amount of water you’re trying to take in while pregnant.
Whatever else you may be drinking throughout the day, whether that be juice, green tea, milk, coffee, diet soda, etc .. it all counts towards your water intake as well.
With that being said, though, you should know that nothing beats plain water, so trying to replace drinking plain water with any beverage is not the best of ideas.
Besides, there’s tons of stuff you’ll have to worry about when drinking too much of these beverages anyways, such as all the additives you’re putting in your body, extra calories you’re taking in (ones you could really do without during pregnancy), all the extra caffeine you’re putting in your body (which could not only harm you, but is also likely to harm your baby and affect your pregnancy), etc ..
1) Caffeinated Beverages
Speaking of caffeine, be extra weary of the amount you’re taking in when pregnant – experts recommend that you do not exceed the 200 mg of caffeine per day mark at most.
So, regardless of whether you’re drinking coffee or something as healthy and beneficial as green tea, keep your caffeine intake limited.
2) Fruit & Vegetable Juice
As for fruit juice, this seems to be a very popular alternative pregnant women like to steer towards to run away from having to drink tasteless plain water), especially considering all the vitamins and minerals these fruits are rich in – ones which go a long way in helping the growing baby inside of you properly develop.
With that being said, you’ll have to be careful of the high sugar levels these juices contain.
Yes, even though it’s mostly natural sugars (assuming these juices are made from real fruit), they’re still high in sugar and can cause all sorts of problems if intake isn’t limited.
Not to mention all the extra calories you’ll be taking in, ones that if you’re not aware of and calculating, could easily have you gain weight in no time.
Juice drinks, on the other hand, are not made from real, actual fruit and should be avoided. These drinks contain unnatural sugars, additives, coloring, very little to no vitamins and minerals, and lots of “empty calories” you can do without.
For this reason, some moms-to-be opt for vegetable juices instead of fruit juices.
While a much better option from a sugar intake level, a calorie intake level and a dietary fiber intake level, you should still calculate the calories you’re taking in from these juices so you don’t stack on more pounds than you’re comfortable with.
Milk is an excellent option to help you meet your daily intake of fluids and provide both you and your baby with enough calcium to keep potential problems at bay.
4) Alcohol (A Big No-No!)
Whatever you do, do not consume any alcohol while pregnant, no matter how small the amount may be.
That’s just a risk you do not want to take, ever!
Even the slightest intake of alcohol during pregnancy has been shown to raise miscarriage risks.
Not only that, but if you thought that alcoholic beverages help you meet your daily fluid intake requirements, think again – alcohol actually helps in dehydrating the body instead of hydrating it.
Can I Drink Too Much Water When Pregnant?
Whenever the subject of drinking water during pregnancy comes up, there’s always someone worried about the possibility of drinking too much water.
You may be saying to yourself “I already feel heavy and bloated as it is, what if I drink too much water and end up making my water retention even worse off than it already is?”.
If you’re worried about water retention and are hesitating to drink water because of this, then think again – dehydration will kick in soon enough, and you’ll essentially be telling your body to hold on to excessive amounts of water while you actually think you’re doing the opposite.
As a matter of fact, the truth is quite opposite to what you might think at first. Drinking more water can actually help reduce water retention and rid your body of the excess fluid it’s holding on to.
It is important, though, that you do not force yourself to drink water when you already feel that you’ve had enough.
Not only will taking in more fluid than your body needs make you feel more uncomfortable than you already are while pregnant, you’ll eventually get to a point of diminishing returns.
Any Tips You Have To Help Me Meet My Recommended Daily Water Intake?
Well, of course we do – what kind of article would this be if we didn’t have some suggestions to make life easier for you?
1) Motivate Yourself
Speaking from first hand experience, motivation is everything.
What works best for me is keeping a 2 liter bottle with me at all times, mark every 0.25 liter part with something creative and motivational to keep me going and help me visualize reaching my goals.
That way, whenever I look at it (and it’s almost always right there next to me no matter where I am at the time), I can see my progress right in front of my eyes and be happy that I’m acting responsible.
2) Use A Timer
If you’re not exactly the type of person to be persuaded to act based on motivation, then you need a little dose of discipline in your life.
Set the timer to go off every hour or two to remind you that there’s a cup of water waiting for you to drink.
It’ll be a bit tough for you to get used to at first, but once you stick through with the schedule, it’ll soon become something you do out of pure habit – meaning you won’t need the timer to go off to remind you anymore.
3) Make It Tasty
I get it, you might be one of those people who easily get disgusted with how plain water tastes, and that inevitably triggers nausea (which you obviously want to avoid happening).
If that’s the case, consider using a couple of natural ingredients to make it more appealing to your taste.
You don’t need anything too fancy, most moms-to-be find that a squeeze of lemon here or a little bit of ginger there does a huge difference.
That way, you can make your own flavored water that’s tastier to drink, without having to buy commercial ones that may have all sorts of unnatural ingredients in them.
You can also add a few ice cubes to it too if you prefer it that way – makes it more appealing to you and you end up drinking more water (since ice is basically frozen water, duh!), a win-win situation.
Whatever you do, though, avoid using artificial sweeteners or anything along those lines, as keeping it natural is the best way to go.