How Much Water Should You Drink? Pregnancy Edition

Jan 2, 2023

Young, blond woman drinking a glass of water
Hydration is even more important during pregnancy.

How Much Water Should Your Drink During Pregnancy? 

Hydration is important during pregnancy.

Do you know how much water you should drink? Drinking water is always essential no matter who you are, but when you’re building a little mini-you plus being human, it’s exxxxxxtra important.

No, like, really. You can’t just slather on lotion and chapstick or use extra conditioner to cover up your dehydration when you’re preggo. 

That’s not how babies work. 

Here’s the real deal, Mama: You should be drinking no less than HALF YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN OUNCES every single day. I always recommend to my childbirth education students to add a liter “for the baby” as a good habit to get into for when you’re lactating and you feel like a fish out of water 24/7. If that sounds like A LOT of water…never fear my friend…because later in this article we are going to break down what *exactly* counts as hydration (hint: it’s not just water) and what counts against it (hint: it’s my faaaaavorite beverage…)

So what’s the big deal about hydrating during pregnancy, and how can you do it without peeing every 10 minutes? (Be honest, that’s what you REALLY want to know…)

The Benefits Of Staying Hydrated During Pregnancy

There are a bajillion reasons why staying hydrated is always a good idea, but these benefits specifically pertain to your baby and your personal health during and after pregnancy.

Water Forms Amniotic Fluid 

Probably like the biggest reason your baby needs all that water is that it helps form the amniotic fluid around the fetus. 

The amniotic fluid helps your baby’s lungs grow, helps its digestive system develop, and helps its bones and muscles grow big and strong. Enough amniotic fluid also regulates the temperature around your baby. 

Plus, it gives them this nice little floaty cushion that protects them from minor bumps (like when you lose your balance because #pregnancy and that wall in the hallway just jumps out in front of you a little bit…don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. You are a Grace-Filled Goddess, Mama- that wall is just inconsiderate AF.)

Anyway, amniotic fluid…It’s kind of a big deal, ya’ll. 

Water Transports Nutrients to Your Baby

All that delicious, nutrient-rich food needs a way to travel from your mouth to your baby’s digestive system. While most of it first nourishes the placenta and then enters your baby through the umbilical cord, a large percentage comes from the amniotic fluid! 

Your baby gets between 10 and 20% of its protein by swallowing and digesting your amniotic fluid. And you know what that means: they are practicing away in utero for all important suck-swallow pattern necessary for successful feeding at the breast.

In fact, this suck-swallow practice during pregnancy actually helps to form the midline integration throughout the body, proper jaw formation and palate and reduced sucking in utero can contribute to restricted oral ties or high/cleft palate.

So, think of your job of keeping those fluids up as a way to set yourself and your baby up to achieve your future feeding goals.

My point is, if you’re not drinking enough water to keep those fluid levels consistent, it could actually mean your baby isn’t getting enough nutrients (or breastfeeding practice)

It Reduces Your Risks of Infection and Pregnancy “Symptoms” 

Urinary tract infections, constipation, and hemorrhoids are common in some pregnancies. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Staying hydrated will help dissolve waste, flush it from your kidneys, and speed up your digestion. 

And no. Peeing frequently and peeing super clear are not signs you are hydrated. These are signs that you are flushing essential minerals from your body.

It is possible to drink too much water. But we’ll get to that later. 

You’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better Hydrated

Other pregnancy “symptoms” like brain fog, headaches, cramping, dizziness, morning sickness, muscle aches, and swelling feet and ankles are a sign of dehydration….not pregnancy. So if you’re feeling a little out of it, DRINK SOME WATER FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!!!

The Risks Of Dehydration While Pregnant

Dehydration not only makes you uncomfortable with aches and pains and constipation, but it can actually be quite dangerous. Because of this, how much water you should drink increases when you’re pregnant.

Because amniotic fluid cushions your baby’s umbilical cord, low levels can increase the risk of umbilical cord compression. The last thing you want is to obstruct the flow and blood, oxygen, and nutrients to Baby. 

Additionally, dehydration can trigger preterm labor. 

So please, you beautiful dehydrated human, DRINK UP! 

How Much Water Should You Drink During Pregnancy

Staying hydrated doesn’t mean chugging gallons of unfiltered water. Like I mentioned, there is a thing as drinking too much water. Thousands of gallons of plain water can flush out all your minerals and end up making you waaaaaaaay sicker. 

Plus, haven’t you ever wondered- if your body is using all that water, then why are you peeing so much??

That’s because if you’re not getting those minerals in your water, your body isn’t really using it.

Minerals are like spark plugs in our bodies that support all of our functions. You might know these minerals as electrolytes. 

Drinking water with added trace minerals, electrolyte mixes (beware of the heavy sugar ones), coconut water, bone broth or herbal teas will better ensure that you’re using the water you’re actually getting hydrated and not depleting yourself further. 

I also strongly suggest drinking water that has been filtered. There is all kinds of garbage in our tap water, like pharmaceuticals, arsenic, plastic, pesticides, and a bunch of other toxic crap that you don’t want in your body or your baby’s. 

My favorite ways to hydrate include: 

Other helpful tips: 

  • Carry a cute water bottle that you love. Decorate it, add stickers, and make it you!
  • Use a tracker hand strap or one that hooks to your waterbottle
  • Set reminders on your phone
  • Compete with your partner on a tracking app
  • Reduce caffeine (hey man, I love my iced coffee as much as the next tired mama….but facts are facts, friend)

How Much Water Should You Drink to Avoid the Signs Of Dehydration

How do you know if you’re getting enough water? You definitely don’t want your urine to be completely clear. That is a dangerous sign that you’re drinking too much water. But you need to drink more if your pee is dark yellow or brown. You are definitely dehydrated. 

Other big signs of dehydration include: 

  • Infrequent peeing
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry skin
  • Black circles under your eyes
  • Sugar cravings
  • Headaches 
  • Muscle aches 
  • Chapped lips
  • Brittle hair

I get, it sometimes you need your “mom-fuel” (coffee), but please don’t forget to balance this out with your water intake. For every cup o’ jo, have two cups of water (extra points if it has minerals and electrolytes added.)

When To See A Doctor About Dehydration

Severe dehydration is EXTREMELY dangerous for you and your baby. If you have any of the following symptoms, please get to your doctor immediately:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Confusion 
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting 
  • Feeling hot but no longer sweating 
  • Heart palpitations

Navigating Pregnancy and Beyond

It’s not uncommon to become increasingly more in touch with your body’s needs during pregnancy. Listen closely to what she says, even if it’s a simple suggestion like

“Please give me some more water, you silly girl.” 

Oh, and P.S….

I’m here to offer you extra support as you continue on this journey of matrescence (like adolescence but you’re older and wiser now…and also, it changes your brain and hormones times infinity more than puberty).

Let me help you prepare for pregnancy, be your sounding board, cheerleader, and all things motherhood. When you join me for my latest course, The MotherNurture Matrescence Birth & Baby Preparation Program (for the entire child-bearing year….yeap, that’s right. You can call me as soon as you pee on a stick….just, yknow…like, wash your hands first.) It is one of the most unique and innovative birth classes in Spokane, and I can’t wait for you to join us!

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