When you are pregnant, you need more water than the average person not only for yourself but for the healthy development of your baby as well.
Adequate water intake is essential to maintaining life. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be encouraged to increase their intake of water and other fluids to meet their bodies’ needs.
- An essential element of life, water constitutes 55%â€“65% of a person’s body weight, making it the most common element in the body.
- Insensible water losses include evaporation from the skin and exhalation. Sensible water losses include urine and stool excretions. Water losses are approximately equal between insensible and sensible.
- Water needs can be calculated based on food consumption. Individuals generally need 1â€“1.5 ml of water for each calorie consumed. A person eating a 2000-calorie diet would need 2000â€“3000 ml of fluid each day. Most pregnant women are advised to increase their caloric consumption by about 300 calories, beginning in the second trimester. Therefore, they would need at least 300 ml of additional fluid intake.
- Adequate water intake is necessary for optimal absorption of water-soluble vitamins, which include ascorbic acid, nicotinic acid, riboflavin, B12(thiamine), and B6 (pyridoxine).
How much water should a pregnant woman drink?
- General fluid needs increase during pregnancy in order to support fetal circulation, amniotic fluid, and a higher blood volume. The current recommendation for water intake is drinking 8â€“10 glasses of water each day. In addition to maintaining fluid volume needs, most municipal water contains fluoride, which can aid the development of teeth and bones in the growing fetus.
- Pregnant women must be cautioned that some water is tainted with lead, which can result in spontaneous abortion, decreased stature, and deficiency in the neurodevelopment of the growing fetus.
- Additionally, a common complaint of pregnancy is constipation. Decreased gut motility and iron supplementation may contribute to this problem. Increased fluid intake can help to alleviate constipation. An adequate fluid supply also ensures that the mother has enough reserves to tolerate blood loss during delivery.
- Try to space out the water intake steadily throughout the day rather than gulping a lot at once, which could leave you feeling uncomfortably full. Filling a water bottle or two every morning and keeping it handy all day takes the hassle out of hydration.
- Be sure to sip water before, during and after you work out, or if you are outside on a hot day. If you feel thirsty, itâ€™s a sign that your body is already on its way to being dehydrated, which is the result of the body losing water faster than taking it in.
- If your trips to the bathroom are frequent and your urine is pale or colourless, you are drinking enough water.
Water helps the body in multiple ways, as mentioned below:
- Form amniotic fluid
- Produce extra blood
- Build new tissue
- Carry nutrients
- Enhance digestion
- Flush out wastes and toxins.
Benefits of Staying Hydrated
Here are just some of the benefits of staying hydrated during your pregnancy:
- Decreases constipation and haemorrhoids
- Reduces swelling
- Softens skin
- Increases energy
- Keeps you cooler
- Decreases risk of urinary tract infections
- Decreases risk of preterm labour and preterm birth
- Relieves constipation
In case it is difficult to have the recommended quantity of water every day, here are a few tips to help prevent dehydration:
- Add fruits such as lemons, limes to your water.
- Avoid caffeine it can increase your urine output, thus leading to dehydration.
- Increase your fruit and vegetable intake
- Milk, juice, sparkling water, tea, and soups can all be counted as water or fluid intake.
- Stay out of the heat. Exercise indoors or early or late in the day.
- Increase your fluid intake when you increase your activity level.
Dehydration during pregnancy can result in mild symptoms to serious complications. The signs of dehydration are:
- Maternal overheating
- Headaches and sluggishness
- Dark or concentrated urine
Serious complications that can arise in the pregnancy due to dehydration are:
- Low amniotic fluid
- Kidney stones
- Neural tube defects
- Swelling in the body
- Birth defects in the baby due to lack of water and nutritional support
- inadequate breast milk production
- Urinary tract infections, which can lead to preterm labour and preterm birth
The importance of having enough water and staying hydrated cannot be stressed enough for expecting women as it is necessary for the health of the mother as well as the development of the baby. Make sipping on water or fluids a regular habit throughout the day to avoid several pregnancy complications that may arise due to dehydration.
Special Thanks to Dr. Nita Thakre (M.D.) for the expert advice.