Drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can do to promote your general health (Mother Nature says so). Water supports your organs, boosts your immunity, regulates your body temperature, and nearly every other function of your body — talk about multitasking.
In fact, your body is 70% water, and getting enough of it might be the single most crucial factor in your overall health!
This is especially true during pregnancy when your body is hard at work growing another human. You’ll need more water than usual during this time, but exactly how much? And why?
Keep reading for all of your questions about staying hydrated during pregnancy, answered.
What Amount of Water Do I Need While Pregnant?
Generally, we need 4-6 cups of water each day (with each cup being an 8-ounce glass) to stay hydrated and healthy. During pregnancy, that range actually increases to 8-12 cups per day. However, there is no one size fits all answer when it comes to hydration — we’re not one-size-fits-all cashmere socks, after all.
Your individual water needs depend on factors like age, activity level, and health history. You’ll also need more water if you exercise or live in a hot or humid climate.
While we can use 8-12 8-ounce glasses of water per day as a starting point for fluid intake, we must pay attention to what our bodies are telling us to determine whether we’re staying sufficiently hydrated.
You’ll know that you’re drinking enough water if you have to use the bathroom several times a day and your urine is colorless or pale yellow. If your pee is dark yellow, on the other hand, you likely could use a lot of water. Fruit juice or herbal tea can help you rehydrate as well, but water takes the top priority.
If we’re keeping it real, though, you already know what it means to be tired — having even just one child is exhausting, especially if you’re juggling a job on top of raising your kid. Adding another baby to your family might put your endurance to the test, but it isn’t anything you can’t handle. Plus, there are some things you can do to help manage your schedule and get some much-needed ZZZs every once in a while.
Why Is It Important To Stay Hydrated?
Hydration is key to supporting nearly all of your bodily functions, whether you’re pregnant or not.
Water is responsible for all of the following and more:
- Protecting your tissues and organs
- Regulating blood pressure and body temperature
- Transporting nutrients and maintaining a healthy blood volume
- Preventing constipation and supporting digestive health
- Cushioning your joints during exercise and everyday activities
- Hydrating your skin (one cannot rely on a fab skincare lineup alone)
Because drinking plenty of water plays such a critical role in so many parts of your health (and a healthy pregnancy), the signs of dehydration can feel totally yucky. You may find yourself with a headache, feeling dizzy, overheating, experiencing stomach cramps or other digestive issues, and developing dry or itchy skin, among other symptoms.
When pregnant, you need enough fluids — more than normal — to support a whole bunch of things from the first trimester until your due date, including:
- Producing extra blood
- Preventing low amniotic fluid
- Building new tissue (and a whole new person!)
- Carry nutrients to the placenta, and flush out waste and toxins
During the next nine months, you’re eating brunch and drinking water for two. So raise a glass to a cup of hydrogen and oxygen combo — a true classic.
How Can I Get Enough Water?
It might seem impossible to get all of the water you need — twelve 8-ounce glasses is a lot! But there are some pregnancy nutrition tips you can use to get yourself to that magic number by the end of each day.
Keep Track of Your Water Intake
For starters, just setting a goal for yourself, or keeping track of how much water you’re consuming, can help motivate you to drink more. Consider keeping a hydration journal in your Notes app or buying a large water bottle and labeling it by the cup so that you know exactly how much water you’ve drank throughout the day. Being aware of how much filtered/tap water you’ve drank and how much more you need is half the battle.
Carrying around a reusable water bottle is another way to make drinking water easier — cover it in fun stickers or cute sayings to make it like a lil party.
Make It More Interesting
Not into plain old water? Make your water bottle a little tastier by adding some fruit to the mix. This trending idea can help you stay hydrated, but it also adds plenty of extra flavor. A slice of lemon or orange can add a subtle citrus flavor that might make it more appealing.
Or try adding some frozen strawberries or raspberries, or a few cucumber slices and a sprig of mint. Water-rich fruits like watermelon can also be delicious in your bottle as well. Adding a subtle flavor to your water can make it exciting and interesting enough to get you to drink more throughout the day. It’s basically like a zero-calorie mocktail.
If sipping on your water bottle just isn’t cutting it for you, try incorporating more water-rich foods into your diet (AKA fruits and veggies). With this strategy, you won’t only be hydrating yourself, but you’ll also be getting in more super-important vitamins and minerals for both you and baby. And with how tired we get around the third trimester, anything that makes our days easier is a yes, please from us.
Some of the foods highest in water content include:
- Watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe
Starting your day off with a few melon slices, or incorporating some zucchini into your lunch salad, could be just the thing you need/want/love. In addition, these foods contain plenty of fiber, so you can avoid any issues with irregular bowel movements.
Regularly Schedule Your Sips
Another trick you can try to get your ounces in is scheduling a cup of water for yourself at the same time every single day. For example, you might have a glass of water first thing in the morning after you wake up; or maybe you chug a glass before every meal. Make drinking water a habit, and you’ll meet your fluid intake goals without even having to think about it.
Water for Two
During pregnancy, you aren’t just drinking for yourself — you’re staying hydrated for your little one, too (this is true postpartum as well, especially if you’re breastfeeding!). Getting enough water has never been more important, but with these tricks and tips, you should be able to hit those 8-12 cups a day without a hitch.