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Experts Corner

Nutrition

Water Consumption During Pregnancy
By Mediconsult's Nutrition Services

Q. How much water should I drink during pregnancy?

A. During pregnancy and lactation you'll need to drink 8-12 eight ounce glasses of liquids every day. Water is essential to life providing a route of transmission for nutrients and cells, balancing acids, holding salts, and cushioning the body's cells and organs. Water contributes 55-65% of the adult body weight. During pregnancy and lactation, your body's water compartments grow substantially. The fetus also requires a rich fluid supply to grow, develop and live comfortably in its prenatal environment.

Water needs can very substantially from person-to-person and environment-to-environment. Pregnancy and lactation, exercise, hot environmental temperatures, dry climates and high fiber diets all increase needs. Inadequate water consumption can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, and decreased mental alertness in pregnant women. To the fetus it can mean inadequate nutrient transport, poor waste product removal, an excessively warm maternal environment and insufficient fluid in its amniotic sac. All these effects of dehydration jeopardize fetal growth and development, and in some women can bring about preterm labor and delivery.

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