Staying hydrated is important, especially when you’re pregnant. But with your busy schedule (and morning sickness to boot), it may be more difficult to stave off dehydration. That’s why we’re sharing our favorite, simple tips to help you maintain hydration during pregnancy. Plus, we’ll explain why it’s extra-important to avoid dehydration now more than ever.
What Is Dehydration?
Dehydration is simply when you’re losing more fluids than you’re taking in. One of the biggest signs of dehydration during pregnancy is called maternal overheating.1 When you have enough water in your system, it can help regulate your body temperature, but dehydration may make you more prone to overheating.
Pay close attention to your urine to see if you’re dehydrated. If your urine is clear, congratulations! You’re hydrated. Dark yellow urine is often a telltale sign of dehydration.
The Importance of Hydration During Pregnancy
You probably already know that staying hydrated helps you feel good and even keeps your skin looking healthy. But pregnant women need even more water than the average person because water plays an important role in fetal development.1 Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to serious pregnancy complications due to a lack of water and nutritional support for your baby.1
Plus, there are other very important benefits of staying hydrated during pregnancy. For example:
Adequate hydration helps support fetal circulation, amniotic fluid and increases blood volume.2 Water also helps to form the placenta, which your baby relies on to receive nutrients during pregnancy.1
Water helps flush out your waste system. This helps keep you more regular and helps prevent hemorrhoids – two annoying (and painful) conditions that happen to a lot of women in pregnancy.
When water flushes out your system, that also helps reduce pregnancy-related swelling and bloating.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Yes, you generally need to drink more water during pregnancy than when you’re not pregnant. Just like how you’re eating for two, think of it as drinking for two! The American Pregnancy Association recommends drinking eight to 12 glasses of water every day (about a half gallon).1
Try to sip water all day long instead of chugging large amounts at once, but less frequently. And if you’re all watered out, don’t worry. Milk, sparkling water, herbal tea, and fresh fruit and vegetable juice also count towards your daily hydration intake. But even if your OBGYN gives you the okay to drink caffeine in moderation during your pregnancy, go easy on drinks like caffeinated tea, coffee and soda. Because caffeine is a diuretic, it can make dehydration worse.
What about after the baby arrives? Of course, staying hydrated is important for everyone, including new moms. And if you’re breastfeeding, it’s even more important to drink plenty of water. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that breastfeeding moms drink two quarts of water a day.3 So start sipping!
How to Prevent Dehydration
You also can help prevent dehydration by avoiding caffeine, which is a diuretic (meaning it makes you urinate). Also, avoid spending a lot of time outside in a hot environment, and pace yourself if you’re doing strenuous exercise. (Of course, if you’re pregnant, we’d recommend asking your OBGYN before doing strenuous exercise anyway!) But drinking plenty of water is the best way to avoid dehydration during pregnancy. So drink up to stay hydrated during pregnancy!
3 Ways to Drink More Water During Pregnancy
If you’re worried about preventing dehydration during pregnancy, follow these tips to make sure you’re getting more water.
1. Make a Hydration-Tracking Water Bottle
It can be easy to lose track of how much water you’ve drunk throughout the day. A hydration-tracking water bottle works as a sort-of visual aid to help keep you on track to get your daily eight to 12 glasses. Basically, you mark off the hours of your day on a water bottle, then aim to drink to that level by that time.
To make your own, start with a one-liter, reusable plastic water bottle. Use a permanent marker to mark off 200 mL intervals on the outside of the bottle. Then, add time markers to the left of each line. For example, if you wake up at 7am each day, write “8am” to the left of the top line. Repeat with the rest of your pre-lunch hours. On the right side of the line, add time markers for the afternoon.
When you get through your morning liter of water, refill the bottle and follow your time markers for the second half of your day. You can also add a reminder to refill your bottle halfway through the day.
That’s it! This tracking bottle is an easy way to help you to drink at least eight glasses of water before dinner.
2. Use an App
Believe it or not, there are also apps that can help you track your water intake. Most will send you push notifications to help you remember to drink water. If you’re more of a tech person, this could be your solution to fighting dehydration!
3. Make Infused Water
Are you over the taste of plain water? Zhoosh it up by adding fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs. Here are a few of our favorite water infusion recipes:
- Strawberries and basil
- Cucumber and mint
- Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges or limes) and cilantro
We love sharing our insights about vitamins and health. But that doesn’t mean it should be a substitute for professional medical advice. For that, you should talk to your doctor!
1 American Pregnancy Association. “Dehydration During Pregnancy.” (americanpregnancy.org)
2 Montgomery, KS; J Perinat Educ. 2002.
3 American Pregnancy Association. “Diet Considerations While Breastfeeding.” (americanpregnancy.org)