Staying hydrated was important before you got pregnant—and now that you’re expecting, it’s even more critical. But let’s be honest, pounding glass after glass of plain water can get a little boring. Lucky for you, you can safely mix up your drinks-of-choice to stay hydrated and healthy throughout your pregnancy.
So why is staying hydrated so important in pregnancy? Your body needs water to form amniotic fluid, produce extra blood volume, build new tissue, carry nutrients and flush out your—and baby’s—wastes and toxins. Drinking lots of fluids during pregnancy can help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, excessive swelling, urinary tract infections and preterm labor.
Pregnant women should have at least 10 cups of fluids every day, according to the Mayo Clinic. Drinking water is an excellent way to reach that goal, but if the thought of water makes you gag, you do have some other fluid options.
“Putting anything and everything over ice will increase your hydration,” says Laura Riley, MD, director of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of You & Your Baby: Pregnancy. Sure, juice and ginger ale have a lot of sugar, but if you’re not drinking a lot of them and you’re watering them down with ice, they’re perfectly acceptable.
Sara Twogood, MD, FACOG, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Keck Medicine of USC, lays out some other healthy alternatives to plain water:
- Sparkling water (try squeezing in some fresh citrus fruit for flavor)
- Pasteurized skim milk
- Pasteurized soy and almond milk (barring any allergies)
- Freshly squeezed or pasteurized juices (juice has a lot of sugar, so drink in moderation)
- Coconut water
- Herbal iced tea (no caffeine)
- Decaf coffee
Don’t feel guilty if you occasionally indulge in something you should be cutting back on, like soda, caffeinated tea and coffee. Caffeinated drinks can help you hit the recommended amount of daily fluids, but the effects of caffeine on baby aren’t clear, so most doctors say to limit your intake. “One cup of coffee isn’t going to do any harm,” Riley says. “Just keep it to less than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day.”
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