Hydration During Pregnancy
Written by: Co-Founder Amanda Capriglione, RDN, CDN
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO
In This Article:
Hydration, in general, is super important…hydration during pregnancy is critical. Pregnant women need more water than the average non-pregnant person! At least 8-12, 8 oz glasses of water daily is ideal, especially in the summer months when it’s super-hot and anyone can become easily dehydrated. Water requirements increase during pregnancy because women need to form amniotic fluid, produce extra blood, build new tissue, carry nutrients, enhance digestion, and flush out waste and toxins. As you can see, remaining hydrated is IMPORTANT!
Adequate water intake is also necessary for optimal absorption of water-soluble vitamins, including ascorbic acid, nicotinic acid, riboflavin, B12(thiamine), and B6 (pyridoxine)—all of which are important for a pregnant woman to ingest. B12 and B6 are vital to helping develop a healthy nervous system in your baby. Without water, humans simply cannot process any vitamins effectively nor efficiently.
★ HYDRATION BENEFITS
Decreased constipation/hemorrhoids - The more fiber you consume (ie, fruit, veg, whole grains), the more water you need to drink to help prevent constipation. Pregnant women need fiber in addition to water to help maintain digestive health.
Reduces swelling - Increased hydration helps prevent bloating and swelling. Dehydration makes the body hold on to water instead of urinating it out.
Softens skin - Staying hydrated will rejuvenate your skin, so it feels soft. Hydration helps the outermost layer of the skin stay moist and helps flush out any toxins.
Increases energy. Water is the medium by which body processes (like carrying nutrients to your cells) happen. Enough water keeps muscles energized, and lack of water causes your heart to work harder to pump oxygen to all your bodily organs, making you more tired and less alert. Add pregnancy into the mix, and all of a sudden, you’re beyond exhausted.
Keeps you cooler - Pregnant women run hot (mostly). Drinking enough water automatically cools your body down.
Decreases risk of preterm labor and preterm birth - Dehydration can lead to lower amniotic fluid levels, which can influence the baby’s development and lead to preterm labor.
★ HOW TO TELL IF YOU’RE HYDRATED ENOUGH
If you have frequent trips to the bathroom and your urine is pale or colorless, you are hydrated. Naturally, pregnant women have to urinate often, primarily due to the growing uterus pushing on the bladder. However, it’s important that urine is a light-yellow color. If it’s dark, more water is needed!
★ SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
In pregnancy especially, dehydration can be a serious matter. In early dehydration, you may become sluggish or get headaches, and of course, you may notice darker color urine. Severe issues with dehydration can cause birth defects, swelling, urinary tract infections, and low amniotic fluid.
Usually, dehydration can be a quick fix by drinking more water. To make it easier to gulp down some water, try these simple tricks any time. One way is to add variety and taste to plain water, by adding different fruits, herbs, and veggies. Add fruits such as lemons, limes, and frozen raspberries to your water or even cucumber and mint, which is a classic combo. Also try to drink one glass every hour.
★ FOODS THAT ARE MADE UP OF MOSTLY WATER
Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake will help you stay hydrated (they have water, too!). The great thing is that they also provide other nutritional benefits!
Tomato - A tomato is considered a fruit! It’s full of fiber and vitamin C too. Add tomatoes to salads or chop up with basil and mozzarella, mix with garlic, olive oil, salt, and enjoy on crusty bread (delish!)
Cantaloupe - Cantaloupe is full of nutritional benefits like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and folate. Enjoy in a fruit salad or eat with yogurt or cottage cheese.
Celery - Celery is full of vitamin A, C, and K. It’s made of mostly water too. It has a boring taste, but chopped and added to soups or dipped in hummus or peanut butter, is amazing!
Baby carrots - Carrots contain beta carotene and fiber. Dip carrots in hummus for a yummy snack or shred in salads, soups, or stews.
Watermelon- Watermelon is a good combo of fiber and water, so it’s the perfect fruit. Enjoy in a salad, make ice pops, or on its own.
Cucumber- Cucumber contains fiber, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Enjoy cucumber in all different types of salads, dipped in dressing or hummus, or on its own with salt.
Strawberry- Strawberries contain high levels of antioxidants in addition to water and fiber. Enjoy in salads, yogurt, cereal, and dipped in chocolate.
Yogurt- Yogurt is high in calcium and phosphorus. We like whole milk, plain yogurt because of the healthy fats and no added sugar. Add flavor to the yogurt by making a parfait with fruit and granola or cinnamon and honey.
Ice cream (YES!)- Just eat it however you enjoy it! Boost nutrition some more by adding fruit, dark chocolate, and nuts.
Liquids- Milk, juice, sparkling water, tea, and soups all count as water or fluid intake. However, make sure to drink water in addition to these foods too.
Avoid or limit caffeine (tea, soft drinks, coffee) Pregnant women must limit their caffeine intake to about 200 mg daily, which is about 8-12 oz coffee.
- Montgomery K. S. (2002). Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond. The Journal of perinatal education, 11(3), 40–42. https://doi.org/10.1624/105812402X88830