How Much Water Should a Pregnant Woman Drink?

Peifen Chou RD

Medical reviewed by Peifen Chou, RD

Obstetrics and gynecology, lactation instructor, integrative medicine, aromatherapist, holistic nutritional consulting, functional medicine, and pet nutrition.

Staying hydrated is important for every individual to support healthy body functions. But, it becomes even more important in your pregnancy. It helps the pregnant woman to support the development of the baby. Also, it keeps the digestive system, joint pains, and excretory system in check.

Often pregnant women drink the normal range of water. But is it right? Well, it depends on many factors. Keep reading to learn about how much water a pregnant woman drinks.

Why is drinking water during pregnancy so important?

Staying hydrated throughout the day is very important for pregnant women (1). First, the nutritious diet and prenatal vitamins reach your body and fetus with the help of water.

A good water content helps you absorb all the essential nutrients by transferring them into cells (3). Also, a well-hydrated body means you will not have constipation(a common pregnancy symptom) (4, 5).

Enough fluid intake will make you feel energetic and let your body perform all its functions (6). So, having enough drinking water as required by your body is important. In addition, it’s a way to avoid dehydration and related problems (7). 

How much water should you drink while pregnant?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women should drink 12 cups (64 to 96 ounces) of water (8).

This amount is standard, but it depends on unique factors of pregnancy. Therefore, you should consult your healthcare provider.

First trimester

Generally, it’s tough to drink water in the first trimester. The first three months have rapid hormonal and body changes, which leads to morning sickness (9). Therefore, many mothers experience nausea, food aversions, and loss of appetite. But you need water to support the sudden increase in blood demand and balance amniotic fluid (10).

All of these symptoms affect your water intake. To deal with this, you should avoid water in the morning. In addition, other fluid drinks are also great. For example, herbal teas, smoothies, juices, etc.

Second trimester

The second trimester is the babymoon, where your nausea symptoms may gradually go away (11). Also, you are energetic, may have a visible bump, and feel baby movements (11). In these months, rapid baby development takes place. Also, you need an extra 340 calories per day (12).

Also, with 1–1.5 mL of water for each calorie, you should add 340 ml (13). So if you have 8 to 12 cups, increase 340 ml of water in any form.

Third trimester

The blood supply increases dramatically in the last three months of pregnancy. It is 50 percent more than preconception levels (14). So, your water also needs to spike. 

Also, your calorie intake increases to an additional 450 calories. Therefore, you should have good amounts of water (12).

The water intake also depends on the weather, activity levels, sweating, etc (15). So, it’s better to take account of all the factors and have water in the required range. 

Health benefits of drinking water

Here are the benefits of drinking water for a healthy pregnancy:

It prevents urinary tract infections

If you drink enough water, your urine dilutes. Also, you continuously empty your bladder. All of this helps to reduce the risk of kidney and bladder infections (16). Also, there are fewer chances of urinary tract infections which can be a common pregnancy complication (17, 18).

Keep body temperature in check

If you are pregnant, you may feel hot occasionally (19, 20). These hot flashes may be eased with regular and ample water intake. It lowers your body temperature and eases you (21).

Supports pregnancy

Drinking enough water may help the body keep up with the increased metabolism. Also, there may be better absorption of nutrients which is good for you and your baby’s development. It also helps in the regulation of amniotic fluid. Therefore, drink enough water to avoid pregnancy complications (22).

Reduces swelling in the body

Do you know fluid retention can cause swelling in the body (23)? Yes, if you don’t drink enough water, the body hangs on the fluid and stores it, which causes swelling (24, 38). So, level up your water intake to reduce swelling.

Reduces other risks

Staying hydrated helps to keep the digestive system in check (25). In addition, it helps to keep constipation away, which can also be the reason for hemorrhoids in pregnancy (26). 

So drinking enough water supports overall pregnancy.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration risk – not drinking enough water during pregnancy

Here are a few signs and symptoms of dehydration risk in pregnancy:

  • The urine color is dark yellow instead of pale yellow (27).
  • You always feel thirsty (28).
  • Less urine and difficulty urinating (29).
  • Constant fatigue, tiredness, confusion, dizziness, or brain fog (30).
  • You may always feel constipated or have hemorrhoids (31, 32).
  •  A constant coming and going of headaches (33).
  • Check your skin. Does it feel rough, scaly, and dry? This could be a sign that you are not hydrated enough (34).

If you have one of these symptoms, which is severe, you should consult your doctor. Also, call your doctor immediately if you can’t pass down the urine or don’t have bowel movements. 

How to drink more water and increase fluid intake when pregnant?

Here are a few tips to increase water intake:

  • Learn to listen to your body and its signs. For example, if you feel thirsty, you should slowly have a glass of water.
  • After consultation with your doctor, you can also try exercising indoors or outdoors (35). Light exercise in pregnancy can help manage body weight and increase the water intake during the activity.
  • Sometimes, you can also have fluids from fruit juice, smoothies, soups, herbal tea, etc. Choose wisely.
  • Keep track of the water with the water bottle having measurements.
  • You can also keep water reminders on your device.

Remember not to drink tap water during pregnancy, as it can have contaminants that are unsafe for the mother and baby.

What can you eat or drink to replace water during pregnancy?

Here are some substitutes that fulfill water requirements:

  • Have enough fruits and vegetables like cabbage, avocado, carrots, celery, spinach, watermelon, cantaloupe, orange, grapes, and strawberries.
  • You can try drinks like fat-free milk and soy milk.
  • Try ricotta cheese and yogurt.

Can pregnant women drink too much water?

Drinking too much water is uncommon, but it can happen when an extremely large amount is rapidly consumed in a short period of time (36). If you have any kidney problems, you must consult with your doctor to determine appropriate water intake amounts (37).

Also, you should consult with your doctor if you take some medications. Several factors like hot days, medical conditions, age, and activity may require different amounts of water. Therefore, you must focus on the range of water you can consume.

Drinking too much and too little water, both are not healthy. So, stay within the range. 

Summary

So, this was all about pregnancy and the right amount of water you need. The key takeaways are that you need a normal range of water, 8 to 12 glasses of water daily. Also, the value fluctuates if you live in hot weather, exercise, on trimesters, or have certain other health conditions.

Therefore, you must consult your doctor to know the range of good amounts of water. The tip is to include fluid through other foods too. So, always be hydrated to avoid pregnancy complications. Follow all the tips mentioned above and have a happy pregnancy.

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Peifen Chou RD

Medical reviewed by Peifen Chou, RD

Obstetrics and gynecology, lactation instructor, integrative medicine, aromatherapist, holistic nutritional consulting, functional medicine, and pet nutrition.

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