When you are pregnant, you want to do everything in your power to nurture yourself and the child growing inside of you.
There are so many studies and articles dictating everything a woman should and shouldn’t do while pregnant that it can become overwhelming.
However, one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do while expecting is to drink water.
Drinking water has impressive benefits for both mother and child during pregnancy and after giving birth. But how much water should a pregnant woman drink?
Why Care About How Much Water Should a Pregnant Woman Drink?
Pregnancy takes a significant toll on a woman’s body. It takes a lot to maintain your personal hydration levels while simultaneously forming the amniotic fluid your baby needs to grow.
The best way to do this is through ample consumption of water.
Drinking a large amount of water will help create optimal conditions for both woman and baby. But how much water should I drink while pregnant?
2021 Overview on How Much Water Should You Drink a Day While Pregnant
To answer the common question of “how much water should pregnant women drink?”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women should consume 8 to 12 cups of water per day.
If you're wondering how many ounces of water a pregnant woman should drink, the recommended cup amount equates to 64 to 96 ounces each day.
This seems like a lot of water, but this amount is inclusive of all forms of water, including moisture-rich foods.
In the event that you consume a cup of (ideally decaffeinated) tea in the afternoon, the water used to make the beverage will count towards your total water consumption for the day.
Other forms that water can take that count towards the amount are:
- Sparkling Water
- Flavored Water
- Mineral Water
- Fruit Juice
Even with all the alternatives to regular water, the best form is still plain old water. With no additives or ingredients, it provides the best source of hydration for mom and baby.
Seven Effects of Not Drinking Enough Water During Pregnancy
Now that you’ve learned the answer to the question how much water should I drink while pregnant, you are probably wondering what can happen if a pregnant woman doesn’t drink enough water?
There are many challenges in getting adequate fluid and calorie intake throughout pregnancy with symptoms such as morning sickness affecting your appetite and ability to digest foods and liquids.
You might not reach for the fruits that are packed with water. You might be too fatigued to eat a balanced meal.
Or maybe you’re tired of constantly needing to use the bathroom. In any case, there can be some adverse effects to not meeting your hydration needs that we will discuss below.
Thirst and Hunger
Dehydration during pregnancy can show itself by displaying signs of hunger, when in fact, it is the body’s way of communicating a need for fluids. Appetite and eating habits may change due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy.
If you find yourself eating more, be sure to include some water or a beverage to help with digestion, distribute nutrients throughout the body, and more efficiently rid the body of waste.
Constipation can be an issue with pregnancy, and drinking adequate water, along with a high fiber diet can help.
Also, if you feel thirsty, it can be a sign that your body really needs more hydration. If you have excessive thirst, be sure to let your healthcare professional know.
Being pregnant in general can come with increased hunger and thirst needs. However, it is essential to pay attention to these cues. Not all are because of a genuine feeling. At times it is because of dehydration.
Change in Urine Color
How hydrated you are displays itself through your urine color. A good fluid level displays in pale yellow urine. However, a sign of dehydration is dark yellow urine.
Unfortunately for pregnant women, who often use the bathroom more than they would like, the sign of adequate fluid intake presents itself in frequent trips to the restroom.
Another good thing to know is that dehydration can cause constipation, so keep an eye out for that.
Another tricky indicator to wade through as a pregnant woman is the area of fatigue.
Growing a baby inside of you is a physical demand like no other. It’s a feat to get through daily life while lugging extra weight and having your lungs and organs compressed.
However, dehydration can also present itself as fatigue. When your body is depleted of fluids, the organs cannot work appropriately, which causes you to feel run down and tired.
Unfortunately, this is par for the course during pregnancy, so it can easily be missed as a sign of dehydration.
One of the scarier signs of dehydration in a pregnant woman is dizziness.
While there are other factors that can contribute to dizziness, a pregnant woman can sometimes become so low in fluid intake that simple tasks can induce a dizzy spell.
So naturally, worry over falling or fainting comes to the forefront of your mind when you encounter something like this.
However, it is a common sign that your fluid level is low, and you need to increase your water intake.
Upon reaching an appropriate level of hydration, the dizziness may subside.
When you have a headache while pregnant, it is a whole different ball game than having one while not.
A headache can also be an indicator of dehydration. At times, a headache is a signal to your body that you need to up your fluid intake.
At times, it feels like the entire experience of pregnancy has your brain in a fog. Sometimes it seems like the tasks that were simple the day before take a considerable effort to complete the next day.
However, don’t be so quick to chalk this up to just pregnancy.
A foggy brain can also be a sign of dehydration.
So if you find yourself having difficulty remembering things as efficiently or find your brain not functioning as well as it did the day before, take the time to drink some fluids and rehydrate your body.
A common sign of weather change is dry skin. However, it can also be an indicator of dehydration.
When you don’t have a sufficient amount of fluid in your body, your skin cannot be adequately moisturized, which causes it to be dry and flaky.
Next time you notice your skin becoming a bit dry, don’t just assume it’s due to the weather. Instead, up your intake of fluids to try to combat the possibility of dehydration.
Five Tips on How to Increase Your Water Intake During Pregnancy
At times, it can become almost excruciating to consume even another drop of water, especially when you’re pregnant.
You can start to feel like you are floating in your own body after so many ounces.
However, there are some things you can implement that can help you increase your water intake without dread.
Sometimes just a hint of flavor can make drinking water easier. For example, infusing your water bottle with lemon, orange slices, cucumber, or strawberries can make your drink taste just different enough where it’s more tolerable to consume.
Additionally, many stores sell flavor packets that you can pour into the water to change the taste.
These packets come in various flavors, so you can mix them up often to avoid taste boredom.
It is essential to be mindful of the sugar content in the packets, as well as artificial ingredients, as you don’t want to overload on it.
Drink Before Bed
Unfortunately, this method may mean an extra bathroom trip for you during the night. Something that pregnant women already have to do frequently.
However, taking even just a few sips at bedtime can help alleviate dehydration levels throughout the night.
The overnight period can have a significant impact on a pregnant woman’s fluid levels.
Drinking a small amount of water before sleeping can help you to stay ahead of the hydration battle.
Space it Out
Don’t attempt to intake all the necessary ounces of water at once.
Set a timer on your phone, and make sure to drink a small amount each time it goes off.
When you consume a large amount in one sitting, it can cause you to feel overly full and unwell.
By intentionally spacing out your drinking, you can get in the necessary amount without overloading yourself. In addition, this process helps you to feel more comfortable.
Decrease the Shock
Although there are certain times that a steaming hot cup of tea or an ice-cold glass of water would really hit the spot, it’s best to avoid the extreme temperatures, especially when pregnant.
In addition, consuming these types of beverages won’t combat dehydration as you wish due to their effect on your body.
It’s best to aim for a room temperature or warm beverage to stave off dehydration.
These conditions allow the fluids to best acclimate to your body and not clash with the internal temperature of your organs.
Switch to Fruit
Foods that have a high water content are an excellent addition to your diet and can help to boost your water intake.
It also provides a break from drinking when you can get hydration by eating fruit or vegetables.
When it comes to fruit, you do want to be mindful of the sugar content. It is harder to control blood sugar while pregnant, and fruit can have a high level contained within it.
Can You Drink Too Much Water When Pregnant?
It’s important to stay within the recommended amount of 8 to 12 8oz glasses per day, noting that the foods you eat also contribute.
However, with all the work that your body is taking on every day, water is continuously needed to keep operations going smoothly around the clock.
The more significant area of concern would be if a woman consumed a large amount of water (1-2 gallons) in a brief period.
Final Points About How Much Water Should You Drink When Pregnant
Water consumption is vital throughout life but has a more pressing need during pregnancy because a pregnant woman’s body takes on a lot.
It is critical to consume adequate fluids every day, and to keep in mind how much water to drink while pregnant.
Important Areas To Remember Are:
- Foggy Brain, headache, fatigue, and dizziness are signs of dehydration
- Water intake comes in many forms, including decaffeinated tea, coconut water, and fruit
- Drinking a bit before bed can combat overnight dehydration
With the essential nature of the topic, many additional questions come forward from anxious parents-to-be about hydration while pregnant. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions on the subject:
Why Are You So Thirsty During Pregnancy?
When pregnant, your body is undergoing an entire operation to create another human.
In the early days, you can quickly become dehydrated due to morning sickness and food aversion.
What Can I Drink Besides Water While Pregnant?
Most things, outside of alcoholic beverages and high amounts of caffeine, are still allowable while pregnant.
The components you want to pay attention to are the sugar and sodium content within the drink.
Although it is essential to maintain appropriate fluid levels, you want to do so in a healthy manner.
How Much Calcium Should a Pregnant Woman Consume a Day?
To maintain appropriate calcium levels throughout pregnancy, the daily recommendation is about 1,000mg of calcium per day which is equivalent to about 24oz of milk or 3 servings of calcium-rich foods per day. Look for low-fat or skim dairy products.
Dairy-based foods can include yogurt and cheese, but for those who would rather avoid dairy where possible, almonds, spinach, and kale are excellent sources of calcium.
Proper amounts of calcium will help your baby’s bones and muscles develop while continuing to strengthen your own.
How Do You Know if You’re Drinking Enough Water While Pregnant?
One of the best indicators that you are drinking an adequate amount of water while pregnant is the color of your urine.
When you are adequately hydrated, your urine will present as a light yellow color. However, when you are dehydrated or low in fluid, your urine will become a darker yellow shade.