Pregnant? Breastfeeding? Here’s why you need to drink more, and how much

May 30, 2014

I’m not a doctor (as you probably know) nor am I an expert of any kind (as you probably know too), but sometimes I come across info from real experts that I feel has a place here, and that could help moms/dads/women/pregnant moms etc.

I recently read a piece on dehydration during pregnancy, and I felt I *needed* to share because it’s something I’ve never really given thought to, or read about a lot, and it’s certainly not an issue that my gynae ever brought up with me during my pregnancy. I mean, I ate enough, and tried to up the good stuff, but I didn’t give much thought to the amount of water I drank. When I was breastfeeding however it was different – I was encouraged to drink, but even without that, my constant thirst dictated litres of water a day.

So, in the interest of sharing good info, here are some tips for rehydrating during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, via Philips AVENT. If this post helps just one more pregnant mom to drink more water a day, then that’s something (but let’s hope more people take heed).

Unbeknown to many moms, dehydration in pregnancy is a common occurrence, especially when vomiting occurs. While most expectant mothers focus mainly on the adequate consumption of essential vitamins and avoidance of the likes of alcohol and caffeine, many are unaware of the body’s increasing need for water.


“Dehydration during the first trimester, can lead to an insufficient amount of amniotic fluid (fluid surrounding the developing foetus). In the second and third trimesters dehydration due to heat exhaustion increases the risk of muscle-cramping, fatigue and even premature labour,” explains independent midwifery consultant, Dr Diana du Plessis.

Symptoms of dehydration

According to Dr du Plessis symptoms of dehydration in pregnancy include:

• dark yellow urine

• infrequent or lack of urination

• dry mouth

• weakness, dizziness and light-headedness

• excessive thirst • headaches

• chapped lips

• nausea and vomiting

• lack of skin elasticity

Although the signs of dehydration in pregnancy may seem obvious, sometimes there may be very little warning before the mother has to be hospitalised.

How much to drink

Dr du Plessis believes that pregnant mothers should aim to drink between eight and 10 glasses of fluid or water per day to stay hydrated. “Drinking to quench thirst” is a nursing mother’s best guide as to how much liquid she should drink. Good sources of fluids include water, fruit and vegetable juices, milk and soups.


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Breastfeeding and dehydration

It’s a myth that a mom produces more milk if she drinks more, but she will probably produce less when the intake of liquids are diminished and even more so when she is dehydrated. If the baby does not have unrestricted access to the breast, due to the limited production, they could become dehydrated as well.

“Furthermore, the nutritional content of the milk might change when the mother is dehydrated leading to adverse health effects for both mother and baby if the dehydration lasts for more than one or two days,” adds Dr du Plessis.

Not only do breastfeeding mothers need the recommended amount of water for adults, but additional liquids are also required to make up for what the body uses in milk production.


While we’re on the topic of breastfeeding, just a reminder that if you are expressing, or if you have extra milk that you’re able to “bank”, you can safely do this with Philips AVENT’s two storage products, the cups, which are dishwasher safe and compatible with Philips AVENT breast pumps and teats, and their milk storage bags, which hold 180ml of breast milk, come conveniently pre-sterilised for immediate use.”

breastfeeding milk bags SCF60325 product image final


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  • Heather

    I remember at Nicky’s 6 week check up this was one of the things the pead said: to drink lots of water. The nurse I was going to to check his weight recommended “jungle juice” which is a sweet mixture of apple juice, rehydrant, and I forgot the rest. I mixed up 4L per day, but I didn’t freak if I didn’t finish it. In any case my lacatation consultant had a fit because she said it was too sugary. My mom, who is a doctor and an LC said it wouldn’t make any difference. But I kept my water by my bed in the end and replaced the apple juice with something more dilute for the time I used it.
    Nowadays that he is drinking less I just drink when I am thirsty. But it amazing how your body just tells you that you need to drink!

    June 2, 2014 at 9:54 am Reply
  • Tidi

    This has been so helpful. I am breastfeeding and its a challenge not knowing how much to eat and drink.

    June 2, 2014 at 11:27 am Reply
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