Background: Despite theoretically higher requirements for water due to physiologic demands of pregnancy and lactation, little is known of actual ranges of intake in pregnant and lactating women.
Methods: Population-based estimates of total water and tapwater intake in women of reproductive age were derived using data from the 1977-78 USDA Nationwide Food Consumption Survey. Three-day average intakes were calculated for 188 pregnant women, 77 lactating women, and 6,201 non-pregnant, non-lactating control women.
Results: Total water intake (mean +/- SD) was 1,940 +/- 686 g/day (median 1,835) for control women, 2,076 +/- 743 g/day (median 1,928) for pregnant women and 2,242 +/- 658 g/day (median 2,164) for lactating women. Tapwater intake was 1,157 +/- 635 g/day (median 1,065) for control women, 1,189 +/- 699 g/day (median 1,063) for pregnant women, and 1,310 +/- 591 g/day (median 1,330) for lactating women. Total water intake was equal to or greater than 3,000 g/day among 7 percent of control women, 11 percent of pregnant women, and 13 percent of lactating women. Tapwater intake was equal to or greater than 2,000 g/day among 10 percent of control women, 15 percent of pregnant women, and 8 percent of lactating women.
Conclusions: These results should be useful in estimating amounts of nutrients and toxic substances that women of reproductive age obtain through the water supply.