Why is it so important to drink water?
And why if it is so important to drink water is it way more important to drink it when pregnant?
And if it is so important how can I make sure I’m drinking enough?
These are all great questions. They’re all important questions – and they all apply not only to your health but to the health of your baby as well. Pregnant or not, you need water to keep healthy. Your body and your vital organs must have water to function properly.
During pregnancy, your body needs more water to cope with the demands of your changing body.
Water is essential for healthy blood cells and hydrating your body. Water is also a key component of breastmilk, and an essential for good lactation. Drinking enough water prevents dehydration which can lead to serious complications such as headaches, nausea, cramps, edema, and dizziness. This is especially important in the third trimester when dehydration can actually cause contractions that can trigger preterm labor.
The best way to tell if you are dehydrated is to check the color of your urine, which should be pale and translucent. If it is dark, you need to drink more water. Some women find that drinking water regularly helps relieve symptoms of morning sickness, acidity, and heartburn as well as indigestion.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 8-ounce cups of water or other beverages each day. In accordance with the Institute of Medicine, you’ll need more water to keep your system running for two during pregnancy. Though it really varies based on your body type and size, how active you are, and so on, women’s needs differ, so don’t worry if you find yourself needing a bit more or less. You’re likely to need more fluid than usual in a warm climate, at high altitude, or if you’re exercising. Plain water is an ideal beverage, but milk, juice, coffee, and tea all contain plenty of water and count toward your fluid intake. It’s best to limit caffeine, including caffeinated coffee, teas, and sodas. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises pregnant women to get no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day.
However, don’t hesitate to drink water and other fluids because you’re afraid of retaining water. Oddly enough, fluid retention can result from not drinking enough, because your body will hang on to more fluid if it senses it’s becoming dehydrated. So, if your feet and ankles are swollen, drinking more water can actually help. (If the swelling is excessive or comes on suddenly, contact your caregiver, as this can be a sign of preeclampsia.) Fluids also help prevent common pregnancy problems such as constipation, hemorrhoids, and bladder infections. (Drinking water dilutes your urine, which reduces your risk of infection.)
Now that you’re pregnant, you’re not just eating and drinking for two — you’re also excreting for two. That means you’ll have more trash to take out of your system than ever before. The water dissolves the waste products and helps flush them from the kidneys. Drinking enough water also keeps your urine diluted, which not only keeps things flowing but also keeps urinary tract infections (UTIs) at bay (urine that hangs out too long in your bladder can become a breeding ground for infection-triggering bacteria), as well as bladder infections and kidney infections. A copious consumption of water also helps immeasurably in the poop department, helping to move solid wastes more speedily down the digestive path as constipation is a pretty normal issue among pregnant women.
Here are some tips to make sure you drink enough:
- Try eating hydrating foods – Many fruits, like watermelon, and vegetables contain 90% water. Snacking on some throughout the day will without a doubt help you attain the 10 cup rule!
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink!
- Try adding flavor to the water – Lemon wedges, lime, and strawberries are great additions to plain water.
- Drink lukewarm water – It helps be digested into your body faster and will not cause stomach cramps and nausea that water at high-intensity temperatures does.
- Buy a reusable water bottle – Walking around with a big reusable water bottle may give you flashbacks of grade school, but it is very useful when needing to meet the quota of 10 cups a day!