Did you know that your fluid requirements increase during pregnancy? Staying hydrated during pregnancy can help keep you and your baby healthy.

The body undergoes many changes during pregnancy. One change includes how the body uses water. In addition to helping maintain maternal health, water is also used to support your growing baby. Water helps maintain the increased volume of blood that occurs with pregnancy and supports fetal circulation and amniotic fluid (1).

It is recommended that pregnant women consume at least 3 litres of water per day (2). This includes drinking water and other beverages, as well as the water absorbed from some types of foods. Approximately 2.3 litres (about 10 cups) of the 3 litres should come from beverages (3). The recommendation for fluids is similar when breastfeeding: 3.1 litres of fluid per day to help maintain your milk supply (4).

Benefits of consuming water during pregnancy include:

  • Help control your body temperature by keeping you cool
  • Control swelling
  • Prevent constipation (which is common during pregnancy)
  • Carry waste products away from you and your baby
  • Carry nutrients throughout your body and to your baby (5)

Drinking enough fluids can be challenging, especially when the requirements increase! Here are some tips to help you get enough fluids throughout the day:

  • Remember, the total fluid requirement does not just include drinking water. You can meet these requirements by consuming milk, juice, soup coffee or tea (being mindful of caffeine consumption of course)
  • Keep a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day
  • Drink a glass of water upon waking up in the morning and try taking a few sips of water before going to bed at night
  • Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink something – at this point you may already be dehydrated
  • Eat foods with a high water content – fruits and vegetables are great sources of water
  • If breastfeeding, try drinking a glass of water after each feed 

Keep in mind that when it is hot outside, or if you are sweating during exercise, fluid requirements will increase further.

So how can you tell if you’re getting enough fluid?

Typically, urine colour is a good indicator of hydration status. If your urine is a dark yellow colour, you likely need to drink more fluids. Pale yellow urine (not completely colourless) often means that you are well hydrated.

The Bottom Line

Staying hydrated during pregnancy is important to support you and your baby’s health. Try keeping water with you at all times to ensure you are getting enough fluid even when you do not feel thirsty. Remember that other beverages such as milk, juice, tea and coffee as well as some foods count towards your daily fluid intake.

Article written by Kaitlyn Thorp-Levitt

Need help with nutrition and fluid requirements during pregnancy or postpartum?

Contact a Registered Dietitian today!

References

  1. Montgomery, K. S. (2002). Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 11(3), 40–42. https://doi.org/10.1624/105812402X88830
  2. Institute of Medicine (2005). Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academy Press, p610. https://doi.org/10.17226/10925
  3. Procter, S. B., Campbell, C. G. (2014). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(7), 1099–1103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2014.05.005
  4. Dietitians of Canada. Guidelines for Drinking Fluids to Stay Hydrated. Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition® [PEN] Knowledge Pathway Healthy Lifestyle. 2017, June 27 [cited 2020, June 8]. Available from: http://www.pennutrition.com. Access only by subscription. Click Sign Up on PEN login page.
  5. Government of Canada. (2020, January 15). Healthy eating when pregnant and breastfeeding. Canada’s Food Guide. Retrieved June 8, 2020, from https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/tips-for-healthy-eating/pregnant-breastfeeding