You may notice that you're thirstier than normal while you're pregnant. That's perfectly healthy — increased thirst is your body's way of getting you to drink more water and other fluids. Your body needs extra fluids to replenish the amniotic fluid and maintain your increased blood volume.

Drinking more fluids also helps prevent constipation and dry skin and helps your kidneys dispose of the waste products being produced by the fetus.

■ Prevention and self-care for thirst

Drink at least eight glasses a day of water or other beverages. Caffeinated beverages stimulate urine production and so aren't the best choices. In addition to plain or sparkling water, good choices include a fruit juice fizz made with half juice and half sparkling water, vegetable juice, soup and a fruit shake made with skim milk. You have many fine choices for fluid replenishment in pregnancy. If you have been vomiting or you've had trouble with feeling faint, sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade may have some advantage.

■ When to seek medical help for thirst

Although increased thirst is normal when you're expecting, it can also be a symptom of diabetes. Gestational diabetes generally has no symptoms, but it's possible to develop full-blown diabetes during pregnancy. It can be hard to distinguish the subtle signs and symptoms of diabetes, such as fatigue, excessive thirst or excessive urination, from the typical changes of pregnancy.

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