Making certain that you are drinking enough water to prevent dehydration is especially important during pregnancy. Staying hydrated helps your body to support a host of critical processes as your baby develops inside your womb.
You Are Not Just “Eating” for Two; You Are Drinking for Two as Well
During pregnancy, your blood volume increases. Plasma is the liquid portion of our blood and is made up of about 92% water. Without adequate hydration, it becomes harder for your body to meet the increased demands placed on it by your pregnancy. Dehydration reduces blood flow which reduces the body’s ability to transport vital nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and hormones to your baby and the rest of your body. Staying hydrated helps your body to be able to produce the correct amount of amniotic fluid as well as deliver oxygen to your baby.
Drinking Water Helps You Feel Better
Many pregnant women experience a host of symptoms during various stages of pregnancy, including nausea, vomiting, cramping, headaches, lightheadedness or dizziness, as well as fluid retention in the ankles and feet. It turns out that drinking more water can banish all of these aches and pains as it helps to increase circulation throughout your body!
Drinking enough water is especially important during your third trimester. Dehydration can lead to cramps and contractions and is associated with an increased risk of labor beginning before your baby is ready to be born.
Water Helps Flush Out Toxins
Drinking enough water doesn’t just make you feel better during your pregnancy, it helps to dilute toxins in your urinary tract, making it easier for your kidneys to do their job and reducing your chances of developing an infection in your urinary tract. It can also contribute to reducing constipation and the swelling, pain and itching associated with hemorrhoids which often plague women during their pregnancy.
How Much Water Should Pregnant Women Drink?
The amount of water that you will need to drink during your pregnancy will vary based on factors such as your age, weight, and activity level. In general, it is recommended that pregnant women drink 10 to 12 eight ounce glasses of fluid each day. You should also drink an additional 8 ounces of water each day for each hour of mild exercise or light activity.
Of course, if you live in a hot and humid area, or are particularly active, you may need to drink even more water to make up for the amount that you lose due to perspiration.
While plain water is best, other liquids do count towards your daily total of fluid. Drinking carbonated beverages, or those that are especially sweet or salty, may increase your thirst, as well as actual need, for more water.