Tips to keep you hydrated throughout your pregnancy - and some thirst-quenching recipes.
We often hear about the importance of eating well during pregnancy – but have you ever wondered how much fluid you should be drinking, or what role this may play for you and your baby? Let’s take a look at the facts.
Why is it so important to stay hydrated during pregnancy?
Hydration is important for keeping our bodies healthy and energized. During pregnancy, changes in the body result in an increased need for fluids. These changes require water and are necessary for providing protection, oxygen and nutrition to your growing baby.
What are some signs of dehydration?
There are a few signs of dehydration to be aware of. For example, you may feel thirsty more often or notice that your urine is darker in color than usual. Prenatal vitamins can also change the color of your urine, but this is still a good sign to be mindful of! You may also find that constipation or heartburn become more noticeable when you’re dehydrated.
In more severe cases of dehydration, you might feel light-headed, have a dry mouth and eyes, or be unable to pass as much urine as usual. This can happen during prolonged periods of vomiting, or when vomiting makes it difficult for you to drink enough fluids. It’s important to seek medical help right away if you think you may be severely dehydrated.
So, how much fluid should I drink?
You’ve probably heard that we need about 8 cups of fluid per day. During pregnancy, you will need an extra cup of fluid per day (around 9 - 10 cups per day). Keep in mind that this amount will increase if your body is losing water. This is likely to happen during the hot summer months, when your physical activity level increases, or as a result of vomiting or diarrhea.
Remember that you do not have to meet your fluid needs with water alone! Other healthy sources of fluid include milk, fortified soy beverage, fruit or vegetable smoothies, and foods which have a high water content (such as fruit, yogurt and soup).
Drinks to limit or avoid
- Caffeinated beverages: While coffee and tea are also sources of fluid, it’s best to limit strong coffee, soft drinks and tea to no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day during pregnancy. To put that number into perspective, a 12 ounce (tall) coffee contains about 240 mg of caffeine. Certain herbal teas, such as citrus peel, ginger, lemon balm, orange peel and rosehip are safe to drink in moderation (2-3 cups per day). Other types, such as chamomiles, should be avoided while you’re pregnant. Find more information on caffeinated drinks.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: Sugary drinks like juice, vitamin water, sports drinks and pop should be limited. If you are drinking juice, try choosing a brand that is un-sweetened, 100% juice. It’s best to limit fruit juice to ½ cup per day.
- Energy drinks and alcoholic beverages: These should be avoided during pregnancy. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good “mocktail” to keep you cool! Try this delicious recipe for non-alcoholic sangria.
Tips to stay hydrated
- Keep a water jug in the fridge to pour throughout the day
- Carry a water bottle with you when you are away from home
- Flavor water with slices of washed fruit or vegetables
- Try drinking fluids on their own rather than with food if you experience nausea or vomiting (mixing food and drinks can make these symptoms worse)
- Enjoy vegetables and fruits with high water content such as cucumber and watermelon
- Quench your thirst with a popsicle. Check out our suggested recipe below.
Recipe: Grape Juice Sangria
Total Time: 2 min
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup grape juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3 cups sparkling water
- 1 orange, cut into wedges
- ice cubes
In a jug, combine grape juice, orange juice, sparkling water and orange wedges. Add ice.
Recipe: Frozen Yogurt Popsicles
Total Time: 5 min
Yield: 4-6 pops
- 1 cup yogurt, such as coconutmilk yogurt
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup, or sweetener of choice
- fresh berries of choice
- add-ins as desired
- optional 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
Stir together the yogurt, sweetener, and optional extract and add-ins. If using strawberries, press a few strawberry slices against the side of a popsicle mold or dixie cup. (Alternatively, you can stir fruit right into the yogurt.) Fill popsicle molds with yogurt mixture, and freeze. If using dixie cups, insert a popsicle stick or small spoon into the center after the cups have been in the freezer about 1/2 an hour, so the stick or spoon will stay upright.