As we lay the “eight glasses of water per day” myth to rest, we hear a collective sigh of relief from pregnant women everywhere. The rule has no proven benefit by itself and especially for a pregnant woman whose bladder is already pressured by a growing baby. They don’t need to add two litres of water on top of the requisite milk, juice and other drinks.
On an average, 10 cups or 2.3 litres of fluid per day is enough for a pregnant woman. And mind you, by fluid we mean the recommended three to four glasses of milk or calcium-fortified soy beverage.
A pregnant woman can also take a glass or two of fruit or vegetable juice, herbal tea, soup, rice drink or any other alcoholic beverage to meet her fluid requirements. You could also count coffee and tea into this list but remember they should be consumed sparingly for their diuretic properties.
The best way to rehydrate during or between meals for pregnant women is to drink water- either bottled or tap water. A pregnant woman’s body also derives food from food, especially fruits, vegetables and semi-liquid foods like yogurt.
If you really want to give any credit to the eight cups a day rule, you might find is helpful only in situations where water is replacing a habitual, equivalent intake of soda or sugary drink. Don’t confuse eight cups of fruit punch, cocktail or soft drinks to count as nourishing fluid. They only quench your thirst and deliver about 800 empty calories. That is equivalent to a whole cup of sugar!
Water carries nutrients through your blood to your baby, and drinking plenty of fluids helps prevent dehydration. This is especially important in the last trimester, when dehydration can cause contractions that can trigger preterm labour.
Water also helps prevent some common pregnancy problems such as constipation, haemorrhoids, and bladder infections (drinking water helps dilute your urine, which reduces your risk of infection).
When you exercise and the weather is hot, it is crucial to drink additional fluid. Always carry a water bottle around but this doesn’t mean you have to sip constantly; drink water only when you feel thirsty. If you engage yourself in any activity that lasts for more than an hour, take diluted juice or a sports drink.
Don't hesitate to drink water and other fluids because you're afraid of retaining water, either. Oddly enough, the more fluids you drink during pregnancy, the less your body retains. So if your feet and ankles are swollen, drinking more water actually helps.
During pregnancy, your taste buds may give you a hard time and you might not like the taste of the water. Try adding a few wedges of lemon to it for flavour.
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