During pregnancy your blood volume will swell 40 percent higher -- that's about 4 pounds of your pregnancy weight. So, it is crucial that you be sure to drink enough liquids.

You should drink at least 64 ounces of fluid a day. That's equal to eight 8-ounce glasses; drink more if you're vomiting often. Water is best. Juices can boost your fluid intake, but they contain calories and unnecessary sugar. Caffeinated beverages like coffee and sodas aren't ideal because they are likely to make you urinate more and therefore actually lose water.

If you can't keep track of your fluid intake, fill a 64-ounce container with water and finish it by the end of the day. Stop by every water fountain you see and take a quick drink. If you're too nauseated to drink, or just dislike the taste of plain water, add a wedge of lemon or suck on ice chips.

Why so many fluids? During pregnancy your blood volume will swell 40 percent higher, accounting for about 4 pounds of your pregnancy weight. That extra blood is an essential transportation system, bringing nutrients to your baby and helping your kidneys flush extra waste products. Added fluid intake will also lower your risk of bladder, urinary tract, and kidney infections; it also prevents constipation.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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