Staying Hydrated During Pregnancy

Adults are advised to drink six 8-ounce glasses of water each day, and during pregnancy this rises to eight 8-ounce glasses. This works out at around 2.5 litres of water every day. It may sound like a lot, but you should try to make sure you drink this much water each day throughout the pregnancy.

Does it have to be water?

No, you can breathe a sigh of relief, you should drink eight glasses of fluid each day, but they don’t all necessarily need to be water. Fruit juices, cordials, soft drinks, milk, soya milk and even tea and coffee all count towards your fluid intake.

Sugary drinks (sodas and juices) contain a lot of empty calories, so you may want to limit your intake of these drinks.

You should also limit your intake of caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee and soda. Not only does caffeine actually dehydrate you, but research has found that consuming over 200mg of caffeine each day increases the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women. This equates to two instant coffees, one brewed coffee or five cups of tea. The 200mg of caffeine each day should also include any caffeine from food sources such as chocolate.

If you don’t like drinking water, consider adding fruit (lemon or lime, for example) to make it more palatable.

What about fluid retention?

Some women limit their fluid intake in an attempt to avoid fluid retention. In fact, drinking more water helps to avoid fluid retention. If you are not drinking enough water, your body begins to store water, and during pregnancy this can lead to swelling.

Benefits of staying hydrated

You may have noticed that pregnant women are frequently told to stay hydrated, this is because drinking enough water can help you to avoid a number of pregnancy conditions. The following conditions can be worsened by dehydration:

  • swelling

  • headaches

  • constipation

  • hemorrhoids

  • bladder infections

  • nausea

  • skin problems

  • braxton hicks contractions

Drinking the right amount

Not many people keep track of how much they drink throughout the day, but it is worth doing during pregnancy to make sure you’re getting enough fluids. You could buy a 2.5 litre jug and fill it with water at the start of the day, and try to drink the contents before the end of the day. If you’re out and about, you may prefer to carry an 8-ounce glass with you so you can keep track of your fluid intake. By drinking out of a cup you know to be 8-ounces, you’ll know when you’ve hit your minimum target.

You don’t need to keep track of your fluid intake for the whole nine months, but it might be worth doing a couple of times so you get an idea of how much you drink. If you’re falling short of the 2.5 litre recommendation, you may have to make a concentrated effort to drink more water.

When to drink more

You should increase your fluid intake by one 8-ounce glass for each hour of exercise you do. Even if it’s just light exercise such as swimming or walking, you should still increase your fluid intake. You may find that you are thirstier on hot days too, as your body tries to cool down, so try to increase your fluid intake on these days too.

Are you staying hydrated during pregnancy?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockStaying Hydrated During Pregnancy

Comments 34

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  2. Ellie

    Thank God I was already ‘addicted’ to water before i became pregnant😊 My advice if you have a hard time drinking enough; just make sure you have a small bottle of water with you at all times. I work in an office and keep it at my desk and sip every now and then. This way, it becomes a new habit and before you know it you will reach your target.
    Not sure if the following is true,but I have the idea that my body got used to drinking a lot which makes me feel thirsty more quickly too. And yes I go to the toilet often too, but just see that as a little excersice ladies😉

  3. Claire

    I’m at the 15 week mark and I feel constantly thirsty. I’m drinking at least 3 litres of water a day and then I’m constantly at the toilet!
    I’m type 1 diabetic but I don’t think this has anything to do with the thirst as I wasn’t before I got pregnant.

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  8. Fiona Morton

    Im 15 weeks and have hyperemesis, 1 glass of fluid is hard enough to keep down let alone 8!! 🙁 xxx

  9. Savanna

    I am 15 weeks and don’t find myself drinking alot of water and I stay with bad headaches and and always feel drained I’m going to start drinking more water to see if it’s a solution needed the extra fluids anyways thanks 🙂

  10. Asila

    Im just over 15 weeks. I suffer with constipation. I cant drink enough water 😣😩. I really don’t know what to do.

  11. Nichoel

    I’m in my 15th week and I try to drink enough water, but the downside is that I have to pee so much. My bladder gets so full in such a short time, I usually feel like I’m going to burst. I wake up several times a night with pain due to my aching full bladder. It’s not fun.

  12. H

    Im just over 15 wks with my first child. I suffer with constipation but i always have done. I drink when i can and try not to worry. More worried about giving birth haha

  13. Aliz

    I’m 15 weeks pregnant, I used to drink 3 liters of water a day, since I’m pregnant I drink 4 liters. I keep getting up during the night to use the bathroom because u drink minimum of 1 liter just during the night. But I can’t help it, I’m so unbelievably thirsty! It helps avoiding headaches and being too tired I believe. 🙂

  14. Dewonna

    Im 15 weeks and up until today i have only been able to drink sprite ..Im now trying Crystal light..My first trimester was horrible I was sick all day every day ..
    I still have mild nausea throughout the day but i can eat and hold down food and liquids.

  15. Amy

    I’m 15 weeks with my 3rd child and have been feeling fine so far no sickness or anything, just quite thirsty sone times and I try so hard to drink more water, but this makes me need to use the bathroom sooo much, 1 pint of water can see me peeing 4-5 times an hour afterwards, not ideal when your at work and running off for the loo constantly! But I’m still going to up my water intake even more and hope it just evens itself out as I’ve been getting stomach cramps and I think (hope) this will help. It can be difficult to fit in all the things we “should” be doing on a day to day basis while pregnant and although I’d follow the recommendations to a degree we also still know our own body’s and should do what feels comfortable, I know I won’t be able to drink 2 litres a day every day but I will drink what I need when I need it.

  16. Margareta

    I drink at least 2 l of water every day. I’m 31 weeks and I can’t feel any better. Had no sickness, no constipation or skin problems, feeling great. I do really believe that keeping hydrated plays a huge role.

    Wishing all the best to all pregnant women!

  17. Nesi

    In my first trimester I has a complete aversion to water. Now Im and 15+2 i can stomach it and I drink loads.

  18. Dana

    I really struggle to drink enough water due to sickness. I don’t have HG, but even at 15+2 weeks I feel nauseous every day and still occasionally vomit. My nausea is mostly triggered by drinking, the feeling of any fluid going down my throat is horrible at the moment. I can only drink if I gradually sip water throughout the day.

    I drink out of pint glasses at home and probably go through about 3 pints a day, so just short of 2 litres. I don’t feel thirsty though, so I think I’m staying hydrated enough.

  19. Darian

    With my first pregnancy I had a different doctor, he told me to just drink water whenever I’m thirsty and to not worry about whether I hit the eight glass mark or not. He said your body knows when it needs water and it’ll tell you, just make sure water is generally your go to drink most days and you’ll be feeding enough. So basically if you just feel like your mouth is even a little dry, gulp down some water and you shouldn’t have to worry about how much your drinking.

  20. Tweenies

    Hiii!!am 15 weeks feeling so much body pains headaches and i get tired ….i think its ol due to loss of water.i drink only 2 glasses of water aday🙈🙈…i enjoy reading comments ol my fellows mama’s to be ….

  21. Mau

    coffee and tea causing dehydration has actually been debunked. I was too lazy to relocate the research but look it up for yourself!

  22. Emma

    Im 15 weeks pregnant and I drink 4 litres of water at work and then between getting home at 6pm and going to bed at approx 11pm I can easily drink another 5 or 6 litres . Apart from my two cups of coffee in a morning before work water is all I drink, and I am probably only drinking 1 or2 extra than I did before pregnancy , I have felt no sickness, no headaches and no skin worries and I do believe this is due to the water .

  23. konstancja

    I’m in the bathroom 3x without any fluid in my system I can’t imagine what would happen with 2 litres.

  24. Funmi

    Hi everyone. I am 15 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Iv noticed Iv been really thirsty of recent. I guess I have to increase my water intake. I feel blessed because Iv had no morning sickness at all. I do have frequent head and neck ache. In my second month I had severe pain at the sole of my right foot for no reason. The dr told me it was because of the pregnancy and I shud put the foot in ice. This helped a lot as the pain disappaired after a few days. I’m having a boy. I’m really excited. I love reading all your comments and experiences. God bless us and our babies. Amen.

  25. Stevie Llewellyn-Nash

    I am 15+2 and was really first in my first trimester, I drank loads of water like there was no more tomorrow and still do now but not as much as I have no idea of what is equivalent to an 8 ounce glass, but I must say drinking quite a bit of water actually helped with my nausea as it settles the stomach like it would when you’re not pregnant. So far, I have no swallowen ankles

  26. Debbie mwanza

    I am 6weeks pregnant & I do not drink enough water maybe that’s why I am having some terrible pains when passing urine & my bladder hurts so bad,now that I know i will make sure I drink enough water

  27. sam

    I am 35 weeks pregnant now, and started to become sick again. I don’t drink as much as I should but is there any other way of stopping my self be or feel sick ? This is my first baby and I am only 20 so unsure of what to do.

  28. Krystal

    I’m 31 weeks pregnant and drink only when thirsty, and its usually unsweetened ice tea with lemon or sprite. I drink maybe a bottle of water a day. I have not had a problem throughout my 2-3 trimesters. *I did get severely dehydrated during my 1st trimester, but that was due to severe morning sickness* I have not suffered from swelling, headaches, dry skin, stretch marks, or lack of fetal movement. In fact my doctor said my son was one of the movingest babies she’d ever seen. He’s also a healthy weight and length for 31 weeks. I understand that hydration is important, but I feel like each woman is different and should consult their doctor on how much fluid they should be drinking.

  29. Emily

    Correction! Milk, tea, and coffee are not going to help hydrate you. They may do the opposite depending on how much water you are drinking (although herbal tea may be fine). Caffeinated drinks are well-known as a diuretic, and milk can cause gastrointestinal problems if taken out of proportion to water. When I was eight, I ended up in the emergency room severely dehydrated because I was not drinking enough water but was drinking milk.
    I also question if eight 8 oz. glasses of fluid is enough. I was drinking that for weeks while pregnant, but couldn’t stay hydrated. My lips were always chapped and bleeding. After doing some research on it, I learned this is a common pregnancy complaint, and is due to dehydration. Many medical websites recommend much more water intake.

  30. Janina

    I usually never had an issue with nit drinking enough and now, being 15 weeks along, I am rather thirsty and would most likely drink enough anyways… However, what I am doing also helps me to pass the time at work faster: Every 15 minutes at work, I drink a biiig gulp of water. Like that, I drink around 2 liters in the office (plus some milk and hot cocoa as I avoid coffee completely and some more water or watered juice with dinner at home). So in total I end up with 3-4 liters daily and I feel great (except for my headaches caused by my tense shoulders caused by my huge breasts and my itching, dry skin^^).

  31. Dee

    I am 15 weeks pregnant and I drink about 4.5 ltrs of water a day. It still doesn’t feel like I’m drinking enough. I still get headaches almost everyday. I am still waiting on my appointment with a specialist to look into this more so I don’t really have any insight. I just thought I’d share my experience.

  32. Katelyn

    I’m 33 weeks pregnant and was trying to keep track of my water intake by using the app called “waterminder” which suggested I should drink 92 ounces per day. I was only drinking about a quarter of that including a cup of coffee each morning, this resulted in me having lower abdominal pain and lack of fetal movement. After 24 hours of the symptoms I felt alarmed and ended up going to the ER. They nurse said I was extremely dehydrated and had a ketone level of 3 in my urine which is not good for a pregnancy. After 3 hours later and an IV I was able to go home. It took till the next day for the pains to go away but just goes to show you how important water really is.

  33. Q

    I’m 35 weeks pregnant now and have had a lot of problems with my nausea.
    Ever since I started being nauseous (all day, all night, and suffering from a lot of excess saliva that only increased my nausea) I’ve been carrying around a bottle of water or tea to take sips from all day.
    Since I usually don’t drink enough, I started using an app called ‘Waterlogged’ to log my fluid intakes. You can measure and add the contents of the glasses you have at home, take pictures of them so you recognize the glasses more easily and the app calculates your fluid intake by adding up the glasses that you log.
    I chose to avoid adding cups of coffee or glasses of coke, but by only adding tea, juice, milk and water, I usually drink up to 3 litres a day. (And technically more, because I skip logging the ‘less healthy’ drinks)

    It has helped me a lot, since I don’t suffer any swelling, headaches, bladder infections or skin problems like stretch marks (yet). I hardly notice any constipation or haemorrhoids and after 20/21 weeks my nausea finally left me (for most of the time), even though I don’t think my fluid intake has anything to do with the latter.
    I don’t know if your fluid intake works for everything on the list, but I actually believe it works for swelling, headaches and bladder infections, because water is known to cleanse your body.