Hydration in pregnancy and breastfeeding - Conclusion
During pregnancyI. Hydration and the role of water during pregnancyI.1. Changes in body water during pregnancyI.1.1. Total body water increaseI.1.2. Plasma volume expansionI.1.3. Amniotic fluid: ensuring fetal developmentI.1.4. The placenta: the organ for fluid supply to the fetus I.2. Regulation of body water in pregnant womenI.2.1. Water balance in pregnant womenI.2.2. Adaptations to ensure body water balanceI.3. Emerging science regarding water and health outcomes during pregnancyI.3.1. Maternal hydration status: influence on perinatal outcomesI.3.2. ConstipationI.3.3. Urinary tract infections During lactationII. Hydration and the role of water during breastfeedingII.1.Water in breast milkII.2. Consequences of breastfeeding for body waterII.3. Hydration and breast milk productionGuidelinesIII. TESTGuidelines for fluid intake during pregnancy and lactationConclusionReferences
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The body of a pregnant or breastfeeding woman undergoes specific physiological adaptations, to address the needs of the growing fetus or infant. These adaptations involve important changes in water physiology.
During pregnancy, body water content increases, in particular due to larger plasma volume and amniotic fluid accretion within the mother’s body. Physiological adaptations occur in order to maintain water balance and homeostasis. Fluid intake needs are also increased, and first evidence suggests that maintaining proper hydration might be important for fetal well-being, and, as for non-pregnant women, for preventing constipation and urinary tract infections recurrence.
Breastfeeding women have even higher water requirements, in order to compensate for the water lost through breast milk. This loss can put water balance at risk, as the quantity of milk produced meets infant needs, even in the event of low fluid intake or dehydration of the mother.
However, very little is known about the actual fluid intake of pregnant and breastfeeding women. Recommendations are based on estimations of additional needs.
Further research is needed to confirm changes of hydration status in pregnant women and the risk of dehydration in breastfeeding women.