More when it’s hot. Beginnings Pregnancy Guide recommends 10 glasses of water a day, that’s 80 ounces. This is in accordance with current guidelines from the Institute of Medicine. Ten cups of water a day may sound like a lot. But that is just the amount needed to support fetal development and prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, swelling, urinary tract and bladder infections.
Drinking water does not prevent preterm labor, but dehydration can lead to preterm labor. Moms should drink extra water whenever they sweat due to hot weather, exercise or illness.
Here’s a quick check moms can do to see if they are getting enough fluids: urine should be clear or pale yellow. Bright color indicates a need for more water. Thirst is an urgent signal that the body is becoming dehydrated. Headache can also indicate need for fluids.
Juice, coffee, tea, and soft drinks count toward the 10 cups a day. But remind mothers that juice and sugary drinks are high in calories. Caffeine has a diuretic effect – it makes you pee more. This does not mean coffee should not count as fluid intake, but it can wash nutrients from the system before the body can use them.
Myths & common concerns
Drinking less will not keep moms from needing to get up at night to go to the bathroom. It might help to drink that 10th cup of water two or three hours before going to bed. Drinking fluids with meals can lead to indigestion. So instead, moms might want to drink their fluids 30 minutes before or after eating. Drinking more water will not increase swelling. Rather, it prevents excessive swelling. There is no worry about drinking too much water during pregnancy. Drink up.
No changes are required in the Pregnancy Guide content regarding fluid intake. Institute of Medicine guidelines for pregnancy are summarized in lay language by the National Women’s Health Information Center at http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/staying-healthy-safe.cfm