Drinking water may seem like a basic nutritional concept during pregnancy. But sometimes, the little things are the easiest to overlook. Are you getting enough water? And, is plain water the only healthy drink you can consume during pregnancy?
In this article, we'll explain how much water you should be drinking and why. On top of that, we'll provide a list of the drinks and foods that you can consume so that you get enough fluids every day.
How Much Water Should a Pregnant Person Drink?
During pregnancy, you should be drinking a lot of water to support your body and your growing baby. The recommended fluid intake for a healthy pregnancy is at least 10 8-ounce glasses of water, which translates to roughly 2.3 liters. Depending on factors like how much you exercise and how hot the weather is, you may want to increase the amount of water you consume.
But, the guideline of at least 2.3 liters a day is not only limited to plain water. Your total daily fluid intake also covers other sources of liquids, such as herbal teas, fresh fruits, and soups. Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS), like DripDrop ORS, are also included since they provide the optimum balance of electrolytes to treat dehydration, and to prevent it in the first place by promoting the retention of fluids.
The Importance of Hydration During Pregnancy
Prenatal vitamins and healthy eating are essential to a healthy pregnancy, but so is getting enough fluids daily. Certain physiological changes during pregnancy, such as a higher blood volume and amniotic fluid production, require you to drink plenty of water so that your body can support your growing baby.
Moreover, adequate fluid intake:
- Prevents constipation, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and hemorrhoids
- Eases lightheadedness, tiredness, headaches, swelling, and overheating, which are signs of dehydration
- Delivers sufficient nutrients to and efficiently transports waste away from your growing baby to ensure healthy fetal development
- Decreases the risk of preterm labor and premature birth, which is linked to higher birth defects
Getting enough fluids every day should be a priority for pregnant women.
11 Fluids and Foods to Consume Besides Plain Water
Morning sickness may make it difficult for you to get enough water, particularly in the first trimester. For most pregnant women, the taste of plain water is often unappealing and may even worsen their nausea.
But, hitting your daily quota of fluids doesn't have to feel like a challenge. Besides plain water, there are several other drinks and foods to prevent dehydration from occurring in the first place. Some of these are also natural nausea remedies, giving you a reprieve from morning sickness.
1. DripDrop ORS
If you're experiencing mild to moderate dehydration, or simply want to retain more of the fluids you consume, try DripDrop ORS, an electrolyte solution that's made with a precisely balanced ratio of sodium and glucose to relieve dehydration quickly. It comes in many flavors suited to pregnant women, such as Honey Lemon Ginger and Spiced Apple Cider.
In fact, the World Health Organization has recommended ORS as a low-cost yet highly effective remedy for dehydration. In other words, DripDrop ORS is the only drink that will have the correct balance of electrolytes to provide dehydration relief fast if you're already dehydrated. Plus, drinking DripDrop ORS daily can also help you prevent dehydration by keeping your body well-hydrated through fluid retention. Addressing the retention of fluids via electrolytes to increase overall volume before dehydration happens can make fluid loss less impactful.
Also, compared to sports drinks with high sugar content, like Gatorade and Powerade, DripDrop ORS contains half the sugar but 3x the electrolytes. The powder format of this electrolyte solution in individually wrapped packaging means convenient dehydration relief when you’re on the go. It's also gluten-free, contains no artificial colors, and is safe for pregnant women. As always, check with your obstetrician first before adding it to your diet.
2. Fruit-Infused Water
If plain water isn't helping with your nausea, try fruit-infused water instead. Adding lemon wedges, cucumber slices, or mint leaves to water not only gives it a refreshing taste but, according to some pregnancy experts, may help with morning sickness. But, avoid lemon- or lime-infused water if you have gastritis.
3. Caffeine-Free Herbal Teas
While a daily caffeine intake of 150-300 mg is allowed, pregnant women are encouraged to avoid this stimulant as much as possible because the caffeine you consume can be absorbed by your growing baby. Since the fetus is not able to metabolize it yet, caffeine can alter your baby's sleep or movement patterns in the later trimesters.
For the sake of your baby's health, it's better to replace caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and energy drinks with caffeine-free herbal teas instead. Some herbal tea flavors, such as ginger and peppermint, may also work as natural nausea remedies to relieve your morning sickness.
Certain herbal leaf teas are also purported to have pregnancy-specific health benefits. For instance, red raspberry leaf tea is said to shorten labor duration, improve the chances of vaginal birth, and reduce the risk of pre- and post-term pregnancies.
4. Sparkling Water
For those who like the fizzy taste of soft drinks and diet sodas, consider sparkling water as a healthier alternative. Also known as club soda or seltzer water, sparkling water is basically water infused with carbon dioxide. Unlike soft drinks that contain a lot of sugar, sparkling water is usually free from added sugars, making it a healthier choice.
On top of that, sparkling water may be easier to keep down than regular water if you're having a bad case of morning sickness. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Chemical Senses discovered that ice-cold sparkling water greatly improved swallowing ability in the participants.
5. Fruit Juice
Fruit juices are one way to both hydrate and meet your daily nutritional intake. Fortified orange juice is frequently recommended for pregnant women because it's rich in calcium and vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption, a key mineral needed for the development of a healthy baby.
There are a few things to look out for when drinking fruit juices, though. Firstly, avoid those with added sugars since this can increase your blood sugar levels and put you at risk of gestational diabetes.
Secondly, do not consume unpasteurized fresh fruit juices. These juices can carry harmful bacteria like salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli) that can cause food-borne illnesses. Instead, buy fruit juices that are labeled "pasteurized."
You can also make your own fresh fruit juices at home. Before juicing, clean the fruits thoroughly with a veggie wash to remove bacteria and pesticides.
6. Fresh Fruits
Substitute your glass of water or fruit juice for some fresh fruits instead. Aside from the rich vitamin content, certain fresh fruits also have a high water content, which counts towards your daily fluid intake.
If you can't get fresh fruits, opt for frozen ones instead. A 2015 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry explained that "the vitamin content of the frozen commodities was comparable to and occasionally higher than that of" fresh fruits.
7. Fruit and Vegetable Smoothies
Consuming fruit-based or vegetable-based smoothies means more fruits and vegetables in your diet and still allows you to maintain a high water intake. Not only do these smoothies provide immense health benefits for you and your growing baby, they're also perfect for filling up your stomach and keeping you hydrated. Just make sure your smoothie is made with pasteurized fruit or vegetable juices.
8. Dairy Milk
If pregnant women choose to consume dairy products, they should opt for pasteurized dairy milk. The benefits of drinking pasteurized milk are two-fold: It increases your fluid intake and provides calcium and vitamin D that's essential to your baby's bone and teeth development. According to the American Pregnancy Association, milk can also help ease heartburn during pregnancy.
For a healthy pregnancy, choose nonfat or low-fat milk. Cow's milk and goat's milk are full of nutrients that will easily satisfy your appetite. If you're lactose-intolerant, opt for enriched almond milk or soy milk instead.
9. Kefir and Yogurt
Rather than swallow a probiotic supplement, drink kefir or eat yogurt instead. Not only do these probiotic drinks and foods boost your gut flora, they also double as thirst-quenchers.
Besides that, a 2017 review published in the Journal of Nutrients highlighted probiotics' potential in reducing insulin resistance in pregnant women with gestational diabetes. Adding healthy drinks like kefir to your diet helps hydrate your body, with the added benefit of balancing your blood sugar levels.
10. Broths and Soups
Broths and soups are versatile staple foods for pregnant women as they hydrate and satiate you at the same time. If you're hungry, opt for a thick, chunky soup. Alternatively, thin broths work well if you don't have much of an appetite due to morning sickness.
If possible, make your own broths and soups since you can control what ingredients go into it. When grocery shopping or eating out, choose fresh, pasteurized soups over canned ones as the latter are often high in salt content and artificial ingredients.
Drinking Enough Fluids Is Essential to a Healthy Pregnancy
In summary, keeping yourself hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your health and your growing baby during pregnancy. Hopefully, the list of drinks and foods suggested above will help you get creative in hitting the recommended daily fluid intake.
Instead of relying on water or sports drinks, give DripDrop ORS a try. Using a patented formula that provides medically relevant electrolyte levels consistent with WHO ORS standards, DripDrop ORS is highly effective in treating and preventing dehydration. Plus, DripDrop ORS is available in a bounty of amazing flavors that are great served hot or cold.
For those struggling with nausea and morning sickness, try natural nausea remedies like ginger tea. If you need to, speak with your obstetrician to see if he/she can prescribe you anti-nausea medication to help improve your fluid intake. Last but not least, always keep a filled water bottle near you so that you can quench your thirst whenever needed.