Pregnancy Articles

Water: The Neglected Nutrient

Key Nutrients for the Mom-to-Be

You know that you need to drink eight cups of water every day. But did you know that you need even more fluid when you're pregnant?

Water has many important functions in your body, including:

  • Aids in the softening of food and the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • Major component of your blood.
  • Lubricates your joints and internal organs.
  • Acts as a coolant and helps regulate your body temperature.
  • Helps in the elimination of waste products and toxins.
During pregnancy, you need extra water because of the extra calories that you are consuming and the additional blood that is being produced. Water is used to make plasma, which is essential for making the 45% increase in blood you and your baby will need. It also helps make the amniotic fluid that cushions and surrounds your baby.

Good old H2O also can serve as a miracle elixir of sorts, helping to alleviate numerous discomforts. Sounds impossible, but you may feel better during your pregnancy by drinking more water. Drinking more water can ease some of the common discomforts that women experience during pregnancy-including headache, constipation, hemorrhoids, uterine cramping, heartburn, nausea, and bladder infections. Strange as it might seem, the more water you drink, the less likely that you'll retain that water. (That's great news if you're plagued by pudgy fingers and swollen ankles!)

Pregnant women should consume a minimum of 8 - 12 cups of water each day. Drinking water is the best way to meet the body's fluid needs. However, other food sources can be used to help supplement, such as fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and soup. Do not use tea, coffee, and soda to hydrate your body. They contain sodium and caffeine that can have a diuretic effect. This will then increase your water need.

Thirst is not a good indicator of water need. An easy test to see if you are drinking enough water is to check the color of your urine. Dark yellow urine should only be noticed with the first urination of the morning. The rest of the day your urine color should be pale yellow to clear in color. If not, then drink up!

This article was reviewed by Tanya Jolliffe, a BabyFit healthy eating expert.

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