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  • Dennis J. Van Zant, MD

I’m pregnant and already have to use the bathroom a lot. Why does everyone keep telling me to drink

Water is an important nutritional need in pregnancy. Water helps maintain your normal bodily functions and helps eliminate waste materials. Your body is made up of about 70-80% water! During your pregnancy, the volume of the blood in your body will increase by 40-50% of its pre-pregnancy state. In order to get there you will need to drink more fluids. Water is the ideal fluid to meet that need. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly The Institute of Medicine) recommends that a pregnant patient should take in about 3 liters (a little over 100 ounces) a day, with 2.3 liters (about 80 ounces) coming from beverages, and the rest from fluids in your food. While other beverages such as milk, tea, juice, and coffee are also acceptable, they contain additional calories that can add to your weight gain. Your caffeine intake should be limited to about 200 mg per day based on recommendation from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This is about two 8 ounce cups of regular coffee. Drinking more caffeinated beverages can actually cause you to urinate more than you take in. Your fluid intake should be taken in over the course of the day. I like to recommend that patients purchase a 2 liter soda, pour out the soda and fill up the bottle with water and drink from that over the course of the day ;).

Fluid intake in pregnancy helps prevent dehydration which can cause constipation, fatigue, headaches, hemorrhoids, nausea, and contractions. Drinking adequate water will help dilute the urine and help prevent bladder infections which are very common in pregnancy. If you do not take in enough fluids it can actually cause you to have fluid retention and swelling. During warmer weather or times of increased activity or sweating it is also important to take in more water to replace the fluids that you lose.

Adequate water in pregnancy can help prevent preterm contractions that can lead to preterm labor. It helps maintain adequate amniotic fluid around your baby and helps get needed nutrients to your baby. It can also keep your tissues well hydrated and improve your complexion.

As you can see, water is an important part of your daily routine to keep you and your baby healthy and happy.

Photo Credit: Wix Photos

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