Pregnant women are always told to stay hydrated. They are probably tired of constantly being advised to drink enough water as it plays a crucial role in the development of the baby. Yet expectant mums are worried if there is such a thing called drinking too much water. Now we know what you might be thinking. To actually think drinking water can be harmful might sound crazy. But for concerned pregnant ladies out there, here’s all you need to know to put your confusion to rest.
Why You Should Drink More Water During Pregnancy
We know water is important for everyone. But if you are pregnant, you need to drink more water than an average person. Why? Water plays a crucial role in the healthy development of the fetus. It helps in the formation of the placenta which helps the baby to receive all the nutrients from the mother. The amniotic sac is also formed by water (1). So, not drinking enough water can lower the level of amniotic fluid which can affect the baby’s development. It can also cause preterm labor as well as affect breast milk production (2).
Not staying well-hydrated during pregnancy can lead to dehydration which can lead to the following problems (3):
- Constipation and hard stools
- Nutrient deficiency in the baby
- Neural tube defects
- Braxton Hicks contractions
How Much Water To Drink During Pregnancy?
Ideally, women are requested to drink 8-10 glasses of water every day. However, during pregnancy, our body needs more water to support fetal growth and development and higher blood volume (4).
How much water a pregnant woman should drink can vary from person to person. For example, if you are living in a hot and humid climate, you will sweat more and will need to make up for it by drinking more water. If a person is physically active or has suddenly moved to a warmer place, you may have to increase your water intake so that you don’t become dehydrated. People suffering from eating disorders such as bulimia are vulnerable to dehydration and may need to increase their water intake (5).
Most pregnant women suffer from morning sickness especially during the first trimester of their pregnancy (6). Nausea and vomiting are some of the most common symptoms of morning sickness which affects about 80% of pregnant women (7). Constantly throwing up can make it hard for the body to absorb enough water which in turn can lead to dehydration. Hence it is important to increase your water consumption if you are suffering from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (8).
Pregnant women are also at risk of contracting urinary tract infections (UTI) between the first and second trimester and some women might even experience it during the third trimester. UTI is a bacterial infection that primarily occurs in the urinary tract but if left untreated, it can later spread to the kidneys causing a kidney infection. One of the ways to prevent UTI is by staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and unsweetened cranberry juice (9).
Helpful Tips To Increase Your Water Intake During Pregnancy
Some women might find it hard to drink more water especially if they are not used to it. Here are some tips that you can follow to increase your water intake:
- Make it a habit of drinking one glass of water soon after you wake up in the morning.
- Include soups and broth in your diet to increase your fluid consumption.
- Carry a water bottle everywhere you go and sip small amounts of water every now and then.
- Have more smoothies and fruit juices in your diet as snacks.
- If you don’t like the taste of plain water, cut up some slices of your favorite fruit such as berries or throw some mint leaves to add some flavor.
- Avoid or limit your caffeine intake as it can lead to dehydration (10).
A simple thing such as drinking plenty of water can have amazing effects on your pregnancy and baby’s development. The only concern with drinking more water should be frequent trips to the loo. And if you hate the idea of peeing in the middle of the night, simply limit your water intake later in the evening.