How Much Water Should a Pregnant Woman Drink?

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How much water should a pregnant woman drink? What happens if I don't drink enough? Pour a glass of water and read on.

When you’re expecting, it can feel as though the advice never stops. Buy this car seat. Skip that workout class. Eat these foods, but avoid those ones! Most of us learn to tune out the unsolicited advice, but if you’ve been wondering about how much water a pregnant woman should drink, we’re here to help.

How Much Water Should I Drink While Pregnant?

Most pregnant women should aim for about 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. Your body needs the extra fluids to support all of the changes it’s going through. Not only is your body increasing its blood volume, but it’s also supplying your baby with amniotic fluid and her own blood supply.

What Happens If I Don’t Drink Enough Water?

Not drinking enough water during pregnancy can cause an array of complications from constipation to preterm labor. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, constipation during pregnancy is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. Drinking more water can keep your digestive system moving and make bowel movements easier to pass. Signs of dehydration include headache, lightheadedness and dark-colored urine.

In your third trimester, dehydration can lead to contractions and even preterm labor. Drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks to avoid this.

Is Drinking a Lot of Water Bad During Pregnancy?

It’s possible to drink too much water when you are pregnant, but it’s not easy to do so. Morning sickness, acid reflux and tiny bladders usually prevent you from chugging too much water throughout the day. Women who drink a large amount of water (1 to 2 gallons) in a short period of time could be at risk for water intoxication. When this happens, your body takes in water faster than it can filter it out.

For the vast majority of expecting mamas, the only problem with drinking water is the frequent bathroom trips.

How Can I Increase My Water Intake During Pregnancy?

To begin increasing your water intake, focus on taking frequent, small sips of water throughout the day. Drinking several glasses of water in a short period of time will just result in an uncomfortable bladder. Keep a large water bottle with you (here are the ones we love) and reach for it often.

If drinking enough water is difficult because of nausea or acid reflux, try sipping small amounts of flavored or infused water to make meeting your hydration needs a little tastier. Keep life easy by keeping a chilled infuser pitcher in the refrigerator (this one could last you all day) full of your favorite fresh fruit.

Here are a few more options to keep yourself hydrated:

  • Sparkling water: Sparkling water is a great way to get the fizz you crave (but may be missing from carbonated, caffeinated drinks).
  • Lemon water: A squeeze of lemon or lime can make your cup a bit more interesting.
  • Alkaline water: Alkaline water is also safe for pregnant women to drink. The alkaline nature may also help tame some of that acid reflux, too.

If drinking enough water just feels impossible, talk with your doctor about developing a healthy pregnancy meal plan to support you and your new baby.

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.