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The Importance of Adequate Water Intake During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman
The average human body is 50 to 65 percent water, and since you are always losing a little water through sweat, saliva, and urine, you need to make sure you're drinking plenty to keep your fluid levels in balance. This is even more important when you're pregnant, since your fluid needs increase and since your water intake affects both your health and that of your unborn baby.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of water intake during pregnancy and to discover some tips for safe and adequate water consumption.

How Much Water Should You Drink?

The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 12 glasses of water per day while pregnant. This is 50 percent more than the eight glasses per day recommended for non-pregnant women. Keep in mind that this is an estimate. If you are very active or have a higher body weight, you may need to drink a little more. If you're on the small side and less active, 10 eight-ounce glasses might be enough.

What Are Some Signs You're Not Drinking Enough Water?

Some of the symptoms women assume are simply due to pregnancy may actually be caused by or worsened by mild dehydration. These symptoms include:
  • Fatigue and sleepiness
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Feeling dizzy
If you experience any of these symptoms, increase your water intake. Chances are, you will soon feel better.

What Is the Role of Water During Pregnancy?

Just as water helps your body carry nutrients to its cells, it also allows your body to carry nutrients to your growing baby. An adequate water intake also helps keep your body temperature in a healthy range, so you don't feel too warm or chilly during pregnancy. Water also serves as a carrier for the waste products excreted in your urine, which helps prevent urinary tract infections and hemorrhoids — both of which are all-too-common in pregnant ladies.

Water intake is important not only for the good that it does, but because there are serious consequences if you don’t have adequate water. Severe dehydration during pregnancy can have serious consequences on fetal health, including:
  • Birth defects
  • Low amniotic fluid levels
  • Neural tube defects
Women who are badly dehydrated may also go into labor prematurely, and premature babies are at an increased risk for a wide range of health problems, including infections and respiratory failure.

Do Other Beverages Count Towards Your Water Intake?

In most cases, you can count other beverages, like juice and tea, towards your daily water intake. Just keep in mind that these drinks often contain a lot of sugar, so you should drink them in moderation and opt for plain water when possible. Do not count caffeinated beverages towards your intake, since caffeine can be dehydrating, thus canceling out the hydrating effects of the liquid it contains.

What Kind of Water Is Safe for Pregnant Women?

In most areas, the tap water has been properly treated and tested to ensure it is safe for drinking. Just keep an eye on local news; occasionally, government warnings are issued indicating that the water is not safe. If you suspect your tap water is not safe to drink or contains elevated levels of toxins like lead or nitrates, run it through a filter before drinking it.

Bottled water is another safe choice if you're worried about contamination. Make sure you avoid bottles that contain bisphenol A, or BPA, which may have negative effects during pregnancy due to its estrogen-like action in the body. Buy bottles and other drinking containers labeled BPA-free.

How Can You Drink More Water?

Drinking water may not seem to appealing at some points in your pregnancy, especially if you're dealing with nausea. But you need to make efforts to ensure you get enough water. Here are a few tips to help you drink more:
  • Carry a water bottle with you so you can sip when it appeals to you.
  • Use an app to track your water intake.
  • Add some sliced fruit to your water for flavor.
Adequate water intake during pregnancy is important for your health and the health of your baby. To learn more, talk to your OBGYN. If you're looking for an OBGYN in the Winter Park area, contact Aloma Park OBGYN, PA.