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Drink Lots of Fluids

Along with pregnancy comes the inevitable battle with the ever-full bladder. Drink up anyway: This is one fight you should be prepared to lose. During the early stages of pregnancy, when vomiting is common, and in summer or hot climates, women are prone to dehydration. In extreme cases, as pregnancy progresses, this can compromise fetal well-being and sometimes even cause preterm labor: "If you're dehydrated, blood may be directed to your vital organs at the expense of the placenta," says Barak Rosenn, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Cincinnati.

Keeping hydrated can also make for a more comfortable pregnancy by lowering the risk of kidney, bladder, and urinary-tract infection and by countering constipation. It may even help minimize excessive swelling by encouraging the body to get rid of excess fluid, says Heidi E. Murkoff, coauthor of What to Expect When You're Expecting.

You'll need to drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid per day. Water's best, but you can count clear soups, fruit juice, or even juicy fruits, like oranges and grapefruits, for some but not all of your fluid intake. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages as much as possible. How to make sure you're making your quota:

Count your bathroom trips

You may need to urinate often; more than five times a day would not be unusual.

Check urine color

If it's clear or pale yellow, you're fine. A dark amber hue may indicate you need to drink more.

Have it all on hand

If you're home, set aside your 64 ounces of water and other beverages in the fridge each morning. If you've finished it all off by bedtime, you'll know you've drunk enough without having to keep tabs on every drop during the day.

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