It’s no surprise that getting enough water is vital throughout your pregnancy for both you and baby. We take a look at why it’s so important and how to make sure you get your daily H20 fix!
Why is water so important?
Pregnant or not, the benefits of getting enough water each day are almost endless!
- Everydayhealth.com explains how water protects bodily tissue, joints and your spinal cord by retaining the correct amount of moisture in these sensitive areas.
- Water helps the body to flush out toxins and for our body to absorb nutrients from the food we eat.
- It helps prevent constipation.
- Water is used to regulate your body temperature.
- Your body and organs need water in order to function properly: water is used in breathing, sweating and digestion.
- Water protects against dehydration, which can in turn lead to headaches and feeling tired or dizzy.
- The Mayo Clinic provides a clear picture of the benefits of water on the body here.
Why is water even more important during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the changing demands on your body mean that water becomes even more vital.
- Babycentre explains how it is even more important to protect against dehydration during pregnancy, as it can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches and cramps. In your third trimester, the effects can be even more serious as it could lead to severe cramps, bleeding and possibly pre-term labour.
- During pregnancy, urinary tract infections (or UTIs) can become more likely. Water helps protect against these.
- Up to 50% of pregnant women experience constipation. This is largely thanks to the increase in the hormone progesterone which relaxes digestive muscles and means that food moves more slowly through the digestive tract. Getting plenty of fluid, as well as enough fibre in your diet, can help to ease this.
- If you plan on breastfeeding, it is worth noting that water is a key component of breastmilk and is important for good lactation. (Although kellymom.com points out that breastfeeding mothers should drink to thirst, and not force fluids which can simply lead to discomfort).
- Keeping cool: Especially if you’re facing a long, hot summer pregnancy, water will be a key component in helping you deal with the heat.
- Water retention: Believe it or, getting plenty of fluids can actually help with this problem! So don’t hold off on the water for fear of retaining fluids. Drink up- your swollen ankles will thank you!
- Heartburn and indigestion can also rear their heads during pregnancy. Drinking plenty of water can be one way to ease discomfort, especially since certain medications are best avoided (Healthline.com).
How much should I be drinking?
The Institute of Medicine recommends that women drink ten 8-ounce cups of fluid per day.
This is backed up by The World Health Organisation, which suggests around2 litres a day.
This should increase by another 3-4 glasses per day during warm weather or if you are exercising.
For those of you who are not big fans of water, this can seem like a pretty daunting amount!
Read on for tips on how to get your daily intake!
Tips on getting your daily H20 fix!
With busy lives it can be tricky to make sure you get the water you need each day. Here are a few tips to make it a little easier!
- Carry a litre bottle of water with you which you refill at lunch. This is a great way to monitor how much water you’re getting.
- If you need more direction, invest in a bottle which is marked to show how much you should have drank by certain points in the day
- Drink a large glass when you wake up each morning, as well as with each meal.
- Use an app to track how many glasses you’ve drank that day.
- Add ice to other drinks.
- Find an every day task to associate with drinking water; for example, grab a glass each time after you visit the bathroom.
- Try adding lemon slices or a sprinkle of ginger for flavour
- Consider investing in a water filter if it make the taste more appealing to you.
Morning sickness tips!
If you’re finding it more difficult to stomach fluids with the onset of morning sickness, perhaps try crunching on ice cubes or sugar-free ice lollies to get your fill?
Other people swear by slices of watermelon to get them through!
Can I only drink water?
Any pregnant woman will know that their bladder will not thank them for drinking 10 cups of water per day on top of juice, milk and coffee! Todaysparent.com points out that there is no proven benefit to solely drinking water, and that other drinks can count towards your daily fluid intake.
Drinks to steer clear of.
If you’re struggling with getting enough water, it’s important not to over-compensate with the wrong kinds of fluid.
Although fruit juice seems healthy, it is actually high in natural sugars. Babymed.com gives advice on the pros and cons of various juices.
You may also be used to your daily tea and coffee fix, but it’s best to limit your caffeine intake whilst pregnant. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises pregnant women to have no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. That’s around two cups of tea or two cups of instant coffee.
Certain herbal teas may also be unsuitable during certain stages of pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. It’s always best to check with your doctor or midwife before drinking any.
Other good choices.
So what else can you drink as well as water?
One idea is to mash up fresh fruit and herbs in the bottom of a glass to add flavour to plain water: peaches or berries with mint, basil or lemon verbena.
Diluted fruit juice can be a tasty alternative with fewer calories and sugar than the concentrated version. Even better- try vegetable juices! Packed full of nutrients and often with a much lower sugar intake.
Coconut water is another super healthy option to add a bit of variety.
Dehydration- spotting the signs.
Hopefully this article has given you plenty of advice on getting your daily intake. However, if you notice any of these signs, it’s time to drink up!