Water intake during pregnancy: Importance of increasing fluid consumption during pregnancy

Fluid intake during pregnancy

Pregnant or not, your body need water to keep healthy and for your vital organs to function properly.  Now that you’re pregnant, you will need to drink more water to cope with the demands of your changing body. Water is an essential component for healthy blood cells and a key component of breast milk, which makes it essential for good lactation.

Being dehydrated could lead to many complaints such as headaches, nausea, cramps, oedema and dizziness. The easiest way to tell if you are dehydrated is to check the colour of your urine. It should be pale or straw-coloured. If it is dark and smells strong, you need to drink more water.

Benefits of drinking water and keeping hydrated

During pregnancy, lack of adequate fluids can lead to many discomforts which include headaches, nausea, cramping, excessive fatigue and even dizziness. Keeping yourself hydrated is especially important in the third trimester where lack of fluids could even cause contractions that in turn could trigger preterm labour.

Drinking water regularly also helps to relieve symptoms of morning sickness, acidity, heartburn as well as indigestion. It also helps your body keep cool and maintains your body temperature, especially in the humid months.

Water also helps prevent UTIs, which are common during pregnancy. It also helps ease constipation, haemorrhoids, and water retention..

How much water should I be drinking?

You will need to drink nearly 3 liters of fluid every day. Add another glass of water for every hour of light exercise you do. In the summer months, you will need to drink even more to make up for the fluid loss perspiration.

Tips to boost fluid and water intake during pregnancy

Juices will count as part of your fluid intake, but it is useful to remember that they have added sugars and can contain a lot of extra calories. On the other hand, caffeinated beverages such as coffee and colas are diuretics, which make you pee more and so you end up losing water.

If you don't like drinking water as it is, consider squeezing in a bit of lemon or lime, or washed mint leaves or some juice for flavouring.

Try fruit infusions in your water or freeze fresh fruits as ice cubes for a fun twist. Try to include plenty of non-caffeinated fluids, such as tender coconut water, fresh lime water , lassi or buttermilk, aam panna or other homemade fresh juices in your daily plan.