What and how much should you drink during pregnancy?

A woman is about to drink a glass of milk formulated by HiPP
Whether pregnant or not: Sufficient liquid intake is vital

From the moment a woman discovers she is expecting, the focus on making informed and healthy choices becomes paramount. Among these choices is the crucial question of water intake — what and how much to drink during pregnancy.

Water makes up 60% of the human body. Thus, adequate water intake is vital for the well-being of both the mother and optimal development of the growing baby. This article will discuss what and how much you should drink during pregnancy, the role of hydration in pregnancy, and the well-being of the baby.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information included in this material is for informational purposes only. Always seek medical advice for any concerns about health and nutrition.

Why is it especially important for pregnant women to keep hydrated?

Staying well-hydrated during pregnancy is vital due to several compelling reasons:

  • Fetal development: Water is an essential component for various physiological processes, including the growth of the baby's cells and organs. 

  • Amniotic fluid: The amniotic fluid, which surrounds the fetus in the womb, is primarily composed of water. This fluid serves as a protective cushion for the baby, helping to regulate temperature, provide buoyancy, and allow for movement. 

  • Blood volume increase: During pregnancy, a woman's blood volume increases significantly to support the growing placenta and fetus. Hydration is necessary to maintain adequate blood volume, ensuring that oxygen and nutrients are transported efficiently to both the mother and the baby.

  • Digestive health: Sufficient water intake can help prevent and alleviate constipation, as it softens stool and supports regular bowel movements.

  • Temperature regulation: Maintaining proper hydration helps regulate body temperature, reducing the risk of overheating, which can be harmful to the developing baby.

  • Prevention of urinary tract infections: Pregnant women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs). Drinking plenty of water can help dilute urine and flush out bacteria, reducing the risk of UTIs, which, if left untreated, can lead to more severe complications.

  • Swelling and edema: Edema, or swelling, is a common discomfort during pregnancy, particularly in the extremities. 

  • Preterm labor risk: Dehydration can potentially increase the risk of preterm labor. Maintaining hydration is essential to reduce this risk and support a full-term pregnancy.

  • Morning sickness: Nausea and vomiting, often referred to as morning sickness, can lead to fluid loss. 

Pregnant women should pay close attention to their fluid intake, ensuring they drink enough water and other appropriate beverages to meet their increased hydration needs during this transformative period.

How much water intake is recommended for pregnant women?

The recommended daily fluid intake for women is around 8 cups (64 ounces). This encompasses a mix of beverages such as water, tea, and coffee. 

Pregnant women should drink approximately 8 to 12 cups (64 to 96 ounces) of fluids per day. Make sure you drink enough because during pregnancy in particular, your body needs water not only as a means of transport but also for the formation of extra blood and amniotic fluid and for the supply of the unborn baby.

During the breastfeeding phase, lactating mothers are often advised to increase their fluid intake to support milk production. The recommended amount during breastfeeding may vary, but a recommended is to consume an additional 16 cups (128 ounces) of water compared to the non-pregnant state. 

It's important to note that not all fluid intake comes directly from liquids. Approximately 20% of our daily fluid needs are met through solid foods. Fruits, vegetables, and soups, for example, contribute to overall hydration.

What is safe and recommended and what drinks to avoid during pregnancy?

Ideal drinks would be mineral water, fruit juices mixed with water, vegetable juices, fruit, and herbal teas.

Expectant mothers should avoid drinking pure fruit juices, fruity drinks, and fizzy drinks, as they contain plenty of sugar and unnecessary calories. Of course, you should also completely abstain from alcohol, for the sake of your baby’s health.

The consumption of real coffee and black tea should be reduced to a maximum of 2-3 cups a day, because too much caffeine may have adverse effects on mother and child. It is better to drink decaffeinated coffee or tasty herbal tea.

Best food sources for increasing your water intake 

Drinking water and other hydrating beverages remains essential for staying properly hydrated, but these foods can be a tasty and nutritious way to support your hydration needs.

Here are some of the best food sources for increasing your water intake:

  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Celery
  • Oranges 
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Bell peppers
  • Berries
  • Pineapple
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Grapes

Frequently asked questions on drinking water during pregnancy:

What to drink during pregnancy besides water?

In addition to water, pregnant women have several other hydrating options. Herbal teas are caffeine-free and can be soothing and hydrating. It can be consumed as a standalone beverage or as a base for hot cocoa or smoothies, further diversifying your fluid intake during pregnancy.

What milk to drink during pregnancy?

It's generally advisable to choose pasteurized and fortified milk, such as low-fat or skim milk. These varieties provide essential nutrients like calcium and protein without the excess saturated fat found in whole milk.

How much water intake per day is required while pregnant?

The recommended daily water intake during pregnancy can vary depending on individual factors, but a general guideline is to aim for about 8 to 12 cups, which is equivalent to 64 to 96 ounces of water per day. It's essential to discuss your specific water intake with your doctor to ensure you meet your unique requirements during pregnancy.

What is the best drink during pregnancy?

The best drink during pregnancy is water. It's essential for staying adequately hydrated and supports the healthy development of the fetus. While some herbal teas and pasteurized milk can be included in your diet, water remains the primary and most important beverage to ensure a healthy pregnancy.


[1] Soma-Pillay, P., Nelson-Piercy, C., Tolppanen, H. and Mebazaa, A. (2016). Physiological Changes in Pregnancy. Cardiovascular Journal of Africa, [online] 27(2), pp.89–94. doi:https://doi.org/10.5830/cvja-2016-021.

[2] Cleveland Clinic. (2022). Pregnancy Constipation: Pain, Causes, Treatments & Relief. [online] Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21895-pregnancy-constipation

[3] BabyCenter. (2021). Swollen feet, ankles, and hands (edema) during pregnancy | BabyCenter. [online] Available at: https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/your-body/swollen-feet-ankles-and-hands-edema-during-pregnancy_230

[4] American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2020). How much water should I drink during pregnancy? [online] www.acog.org. Available at: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/experts-and-stories/ask-acog/how-much-water-should-i-drink-during-pregnancy#:~:text=During%20pregnancy%20you%20should%20drink

[5] BabyCenter. (n.d.). How much water should I drink while I’m pregnant? [online] Available at: www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/health-and-safety/how-much-water-should-i-drink-while-im-pregnant_5283 


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