How much water should you drink during pregnancy?

Lay the "eight glasses of water per day" myth to rest. Here's how much you should actually be drinking.

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Listen carefully and you’ll hear a collective sigh of relief from pregnant women everywhere as we lay the “eight glasses of water per day” myth to rest. It has no proven benefit by itself—and no woman’s bladder, already pressured by a growing baby, welcomes two litres of water on top of the requisite milk, juice and other drinks.

A pregnant woman needs, on average, approximately 10 cups (2.3 liters) of fluid per day. This includes the recommended three to four glasses of milk or calcium-fortified soy beverage. Fluid requirements can also be met with a glass or two of fruit or vegetable juice, herbal tea, soup, rice drink or any other non-alcoholic refreshment. Coffee and regular tea also count, in spite of their diuretic qualities, but should be consumed sparingly because of the caffeine. Drinking water—either bottled or tap water—is a great way to rehydrate during or between meals. In addition, your body will derive water from food, especially fruit, vegetables and semi-liquid foods like yogurt.

To give it credit, the eight cups a day rule is helpful if it results in water replacing a habitual, equivalent intake of pop or other sweetened drink. Beware! Eight cups of “fruit punch,” “cocktail” or soft drink might quench thirst, but they also deliver more than a cup of sugar, or about 800 empty calories.

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Of course, with exercise and hot weather, it is important to drink additional fluid. Make sure you carry water along with you, but don’t feel you have to be sipping constantly. For activities that last longer than one hour, take diluted juice or a sports drink.

Listen to your thirst signal and enjoy a quick smoothie, a few slices of watermelon or a delicious, tall glass of water!

This article was originally published in December 2013. 

Read more:
The pregnancy diet: 5 must-have foods
Pregnancy food guide: Truth about what you can eat (+ cheat sheet)
How to exercise when you’re pregnant

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