MS, RDN, CDN
Allison is a registered dietitian who holds a Master’s in Nutrition and Physical Fitness. She also loves helping families get creative with their wellness choices.
Adequate hydration is essential for both you and your baby. During pregnancy, water plays a critical role in your body – from delivering nutrients to your baby through the placenta to helping alleviate pregnancy-related discomforts like constipation, swelling and fatigue. If you are breastfeeding, drinking enough water will help replace the fluid your body loses through your breast milk.
Understandably, pregnancy and breastfeeding women need more water than the average person. Generally, you should aim to drink at least eight 8 oz cups of water daily. During pregnancy, the recommendation increases to at least ten 8 oz cups daily, and at least 13 8 oz cups daily while breastfeeding.
So what exactly should you be drinking? Plain water – hydration in pure form – is best. Consuming a diet high in produce also contributes to staying adequately hydrated, since fruits and vegetables are mostly water.
How do you know if you are adequately hydrated? One of the best ways to assess hydration status is to take a look at your urine, which should be very pale yellow in color. If you notice your urine is darker in color, you most likely need to up your water intake. See the What to Do section for tips to stay hydrated.
Be familiar with stage appropriate fluid recommendations
Aim for at least eight 8 oz cups daily, but up that amount to at least ten 8 oz cups daily during pregnancy and at least 13 8 oz cups daily if you are breastfeeding.
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty
Feeling thirsty is a signal that your body has already lost fluid. Combat this feeling by consistently drinking throughout the day.
If you find it difficult to drink plain water all of the time, try brightening it up with the addition of natural flavors from fruits, vegetables and even herbs. Simply add your choice of fresh ingredients to a pitcher of water and place it back in the fridge for a few hours for a drink that’s tasty and refreshing.
Try these combinations: cucumber/mint, honeydew/lime, pear/ginger, and watermelon/rosemary.
Or try carbonated water for a change!
Up your produce intake
Fruits and vegetables are mostly water so the more you eat these foods, the better hydrated you will be.
Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it increases how much fluid your body loses through urine. Stick to no more than 200 mg daily, which is equivalent to about 1-2 cups of coffee.
Keep a water bottle with you (and in sight) at all times
Don’t stash your water bottle in your bag or desk. Instead, keep it in plain sight to serve as a visual reminder to drink more throughout the day.
Play with temperatures
Try varying the temperature of your water. Perhaps you will find it more enjoyable ice cold, or find it easier to drink at room temperature. Try a hot cup of water with a slice of lemon on a cold or chilly day.
Sip while you wait
Waiting for your tea or coffee to brew? Drink water. Waiting for your lunch to heat up? Drink water.
Make water part of your routine
Find ways to make staying hydrated part of what you already do every day.
Create a habit to drink a glass of water after you brush your teeth or while you are commuting to work.
When drinking water is part of your routine, you are more likely to remember.
Be mindful of your other beverage choices
Limit sweetened beverages like sodas and juices that offer little to no nutritional value.
If you are pregnant, avoid alcohol and other drinks with unknown ingredients.
Readily available herbal teas like ginger, chamomile, and zinger blends are safe to drink in moderation while pregnant and can contribute to your daily water intake.
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