What’s trending during your pregnancy? Water, and lots of it.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends every pregnant woman drink between eight and 12 cups of water daily or 64 to 96 ounces.
Breastfeeding requires even more water, around 13 eight-ounce glasses daily.
Why Is Water So Important During Pregnancy?
You need more water during pregnancy to support healthy levels of amniotic fluid, and to support the increased blood volume in your body.
Water has its benefits above and beyond these needs, too. Drinking water:
- Supports bodily systems
- Prevents dehydration
- Helps improve your ability to produce stool (helps you avoid constipation)
- Flushes out waste
- Helps prevent urinary tract infections
Getting enough water is essential during every trimester of your pregnancy, even from the very first trimester.
How Much Water Should I Drink Each Trimester?
Each trimester your fluid intake needs will change. Here’s a glance at how much you should be drinking each trimester.
First Trimester Water Needs
It’s hard to drink water with so much nausea and morning sickness.
During the first trimester, focus on hydration and ensuring you aren’t losing too much fluid from being sick.
It might be helpful to keep a water bottle with you to monitor your fluid intake.
If you find it difficult to drink flat water, try carbonated water, which may help settle your stomach and help you burp. Soup and broth can be helpful to settle the stomach as well as offer hydration.
Second Trimester Water Needs
During the second trimester, your body (and your baby) will require extra calories, and you’ll also begin to notice more weight gain.
Healthcare providers recommend pregnant women consume at least 340 additional calories each day.
Guidelines for water intake suggest that you need between one and one and a half mL of water for each calorie consumed.
That means you should increase the amount of water you drink by about 11.5 ounces (or one and a half glasses).
Increasing your water intake as you increase your calories will also help ensure you avoid bouts of constipation.
Third Trimester Water Needs
Your caloric needs may or may not change during the third trimester.
The average woman gains between 20 and 25 pounds during a healthy pregnancy.
Your doctor can help you decide if you need additional calories during the third trimester or not.
You’ll need enough fluids to make up for the additional calories if you need more.
Your doctor will also closely monitor your amniotic fluid levels during the third trimester. Low amniotic fluid levels can increase your risk of preterm labor, so drinking enough water to support your amniotic fluid needs is vital to your baby’s health.
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What Are the Signs of Dehydration?
It’s much easier to become dehydrated while pregnant, especially when dealing with morning sickness.
The symptoms of dehydration may not be incredibly noticeable at first, especially if you feel you’ve been meeting your water needs. Symptoms can include:
- Excessive thirst
- Feeling hungry even if you’ve just finished a meal
- Dark yellow urine
- Feeling tired, dizzy, or lightheaded
Another symptom that often gets swept under the rug? Brain fog.
It’s no secret that pregnancy brain is a real thing, but having brain fog that makes it hard for you to concentrate or make decisions can be a symptom of not drinking enough water.
What Are the Risks of Dehydration?
If you become dehydrated while pregnant, there are risks to you and your pregnancy.
- Constipation. Constipation during pregnancy is very common and usually results from the hormone progesterone, which can slow the digestive tract muscles. And your stool will become harder and harder to pass if you do not drink enough water. Constipation may not seem like a huge issue, but over time ( especially after labor and delivery), you can develop hemorrhoids from straining to use the bathroom.
- Low amniotic fluid. Your total fluid intake determines the amniotic fluid levels. If you aren’t drinking plenty of water, your amniotic fluid levels could become too low, becoming an emergency for your baby.
- Urinary tract infections. UTIs are painful and can lead to more severe upper urinary tract infections if left untreated. Drinking enough water lowers your risk of urinary tract infection.
- Overheating. It’s important to maintain your core body temperature when you are pregnant. Not drinking enough water can increase your risk of overheating, especially if you are pregnant during hot weather.
Ensuring you’re getting enough water is essential, and there’s a plot twist to help you meet your high water intake goals.
More Than Just Water
Getting in 64 to 96 ounces is a lot of water, but there’s good news; you don’t have to rely on tap water alone for your fluid needs.
Herbal teas, fruit juices, and even fruits with high water content like watermelon all count toward your daily goals.
How Do I Know I’m Drinking Enough Water?
If you’re frequently going to the bathroom and your urine is a pale yellow to clear in color, you’re probably drinking plenty of water and supporting your pregnancy nutrition goals.
The closer you get to your due date, and the larger your baby grows, the more time you’ll spend in the restroom because of added pressure on your bladder.
Although it can seem like the bathroom is your second home, don’t limit your water intake because it’s inconvenient.
Staying Hydrated During Pregnancy
Hydration is essential to a healthy pregnancy and ensuring you get enough water can be tricky, especially if you are dealing with nausea and vomiting.
If you have trouble getting enough water, talk to your doctor about how you can increase your fluid intake. In the meantime, grab a glass of something cold and drink up. You’ll be eight ounces closer to your daily goal.
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Bridget Reed is a Tampa-based content development manager, writer, and editor at GR0; specializing in content related to varying fields including medicine, health, and small businesses. Bridget went to St. Petersburg College and majored in Management and Organizational Leadership.
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