Pregnant women know that what they eat figures heavily into their health and the health of their fetuses. What they drink is just as important. Water, milk, most fruit juices and many herbal teas are good for you during this period, and the amount you consume is as important as your beverage choice.
A symptom of pregnancy is frequent urination, which may lead you to believe that you are well hydrated and not in need of more water. Nothing could be further from the truth -- pregnant women require at least 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day. If you are an active mother-to-be, drink an additional 8 ounces for each hour of light activity or exercise. The water you drink wards off dehydration and carries nutrients to your growing fetus, but it may also decrease your risk of preterm labor and preeclampsia, both potentially dangerous conditions.
Drink milk when you are pregnant. A study published in the April 2006 issue of the "Canadian Medical Association Journal" finds that pregnant women who drank more than 250 mL (about 1 cup) of milk per day had diets higher in protein and vitamin D and gave birth to babies with higher birth weights compared to expectant mothers who drank less milk. Evidence presented at the 2010 American Academy of Neurology's Annual Meeting suggests that drinking milk while pregnant may decrease the baby's risk of developing adult-onset multiple sclerosis as well.
Drinking fruit juice during pregnancy boosts your intake of vitamins and minerals that the fetus needs for good health and development. Those same nutrients help the mother stay healthy during pregnancy as well. However, do not drink unpasteurized fruit juice such as freshly pressed apple cider; the heat of pasteurization kills off bacteria that may cause illness and harm the fetus.
Herbal teas can be a relaxing, tasty part of your pregnancy diet that has health benefits too. Ginger tea, for instance, may help soothe morning sickness. Further, some herbal teas provide vitamins and minerals – for instance, tea made from parsley introduces vitamin K into your diet. Choose noncaffeinated varieties for best health, although the vast majority of herbal teas naturally contain no caffeine. Note that not all herbal teas are safe for consumption during pregnancy, though. The American Pregnancy Association urges caution when drinking nettle tea, alfalfa tea and yellow dock tea. Consult your obstetrician for more information about herbal tea safety.