Water and Pregnancy

While it is always a good idea to keep the body hydrated, there are certain times when changes in the body call for more water. One of these times is during pregnancy. Water can be the answer to alleviating many side effects of pregnancy, aid in preparing the body for these physiological changes, and just overall make mommy and baby healthier.

pregnant woman

Water is an important part of pregnancy. The fluid acts as the body's transportation system, and carries nutrients through the blood to the baby. Also, flushing out the system and diluting urine with water prevent urinary tract infections, which are common in pregnancy. Perhaps the biggest reason to drink water is to keep the body hydrated. Dehydration in pregnant women can be very serious. Hormones (gotta love those hormones!) change the way women store water during pregnancy, so they begin to retain water, and drinking plenty of water combats that. Much of that water is used in the amniotic sack. Amniotic fluid alone needs to replenish itself every hour by using roughly a cup of water stored in the body. Replacing that water will ensure the fetus is protected within the womb.

Since the blood volume increases to nearly double by the eighth month of pregnancy, it is necessary to drink even more water to compensate. Thicker blood can lead to hypertension and other cardiovascular problems, as discussed on other areas of this Website.

Because dehydration can cause contractions, lack of water in the third trimester can also cause premature labor. Premature labor can have many health risks to the newborn baby. In some cases, premature labor were stopped simply by giving the mother enough water to re-hydrate her body.

Common pregnancy discomforts that water may play a role in:

  • Fatigue - Drink water throughout the day so your urine is light colored – Water’s hydraulic cycle
  • Hormone regulation & Headaches - Water’s role in chemical reactions delivery and transport
  • Upset stomach, heartburn, ulcers & constipation – Water’s role in digestion
  • Leg cramps, swelling, dizziness and hypertension – Water’s role in fluid regulation and retention
  • Joint Pain – Water’s role in lubricating the joints

Pregnant women should be sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is in addition to the normal intake of other recommended foods. The benefits of drinking water during pregnancy include healthier skin, less acne, washing away of unnecessary sodium, less chance for pre-term labor or miscarriage and better bowel movements. Drinking water can, believe it or not, also help preventing the nausea known as morning sickness, as doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluid between meals.

Not only is the amount of water important but also the quality of the water being drank is just as important. Chlorine and other contaminants are often found in tap water and even in some bottle water brands. The fetus may be sensitive to the contaminants in unfiltered water which may pose a risk to their development. Point of use filtration systems are the only way to ensure pure contaminant free drinking water.

Drinking water for health benefits of the mother and baby are evident. Doctors, in fact, ask mothers to steer clear of diuretics like caffeine and alcohol, so water is the obvious alternative for fluid intake. Also, since doctors often 'prescribe' exercise in pregnant women, fluids will be lost through perspiration. As we know, pregnant or not, those fluids also need to be replaced.

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