Written by Dr A.Baliyan
Water is an essential element of life comprising 55-65% of a person’s body weight. The main sources of water intake include drinking water, water from food, and endogenous water. Under normal conditions, water participates in several physiological functions and maintains a dynamic balance between water intake and output. Too much or little water intake disturbs the hydration state and affects the body negatively. Insufficient water induces dehydration during pregnancy which causes fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, headache, increased thirst, and hunger, dark-colored urine, dry skin and throat, hard stools, and constipation.
Importance of hydration in pregnancy
During pregnancy, the physiological changes in the body cause an increased water requirement. The blood volume of pregnant women gradually increases from 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy and reaches a peak at 32 to 34 weeks gestation. As water constitutes the main component of human tissues, a pregnant woman needs more water than an average person to form amniotic fluid, produce extra blood, build new tissues, and carry nutrients to the developing fetus, for improving digestion and to flush out waste and toxins.
Water requirements during pregnancy
For a healthy quality of life throughout pregnancy, fluid and electrolyte balance must be maintained. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a pregnant woman should drink 8 cups to 12 cups of fluids a day. This is equivalent to 64 to 96 ounces (1.9 liters to 2.8 liters).
Water requirement of a person changes with food intake and calorie needs. An average person usually requires 1 to 1.5 ml of water for each calorie. During pregnancy, the calorie intake changes which make it important to monitor your water intake to make sure you aren’t losing more than you’re ingesting. By the beginning of the second trimester the calorie intake of a pregnant female increases by 300 calories per day, employing to add at least another 300mL or 10 ounces of water to their daily routine. Likewise, in the third trimester, the calorie intake further increases by 450 above the daily recommendations requiring even more water to drink.
Benefits of staying hydrated during pregnancy
- Decreases constipation and hemorrhoids
- Reduces day-to-day fatigue
- Keeps you cooler, calm, and more energetic
- Decreases the risk of urinary tract infections
- Transports proteins and carbohydrates via your bloodstream
- Regulates your internal body temperature
- Reduces excess bodily swelling
- Improves skin tone and shine
Quick tips to stay hydrated during your pregnancy
- If you find it difficult to drink 80 ounces of water, try adding fruits such as lemons, limes, and frozen berries to your water.
- Switching regular drinking water with other types of bottled water such as Artesian water that comes from a confined aquifer (rock formation), mineral water that contains no less than 250 ppm of dissolved solid minerals, and sparkling or spring water.
- Stay out of the heat or carry a bottle whenever you are outdoors.
- Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Having milk, tea, juice or a smoothie also helps in adding the fluids but check with your doctor first.
About the author
Dr Asif Baliyan is a licensed medical doctor with a specialization in Pathology. He is currently employed as an associate consultant in a multi-speciality Hospital. Dr Baliyan has vast experience in diagnostic, clinical and research work and has many publications in indexed peer-reviewed journals. He holds medical degrees for MBBS, MD & DNB in Pathology from highly valued institutions in India.
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