Congratulations, you’re going to have a baby soon! Your body is now busy growing a tiny human. It becomes essential to be extra kind to you and the little one inside you. As a mom-to-be, you may be doing all the right things such as consuming folic acid and eating greens, but one aspect that often gets overlooked is the intake of enough water.
When you are pregnant, you need more water than ever to stay adequately hydrated throughout the day so that your little bundle of joy remains healthy.
Here are 5 benefits to staying hydrated during pregnancy.
- Absorbs Nutrients
Water is one of the most important parts of the diet. It is a major component of our blood, carries nutrients to body cells and flushes away harmful toxins from the body. It is because of water, nutrients from food get absorbed in our body.
As the body undergoes changes during pregnancy, adequate water intake ensures a healthy environment for baby to thrive in by providing essential nutrients. It’s those nutrient-rich blood cells that reach placenta and finally your baby.
As water forms a key component of breast milk, drinking an adequate amount of water is essential for lactation.
- Prevents Dehydration
When the body doesn’t get enough fluid, it gets dehydrated. For pregnant women, the effects of dehydration are more visible in the form of headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and dull skin. Severe dehydration can lead to preterm labor and in worst cases can cause miscarriage.
Replenishing with water helps keep pregnancy fatigue and headache at bay.
- Prevents UTIs
Women are more prone to developing Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) than men because of their shorter urethras. UTI is accompanied by burning sensation while urinating and strong pelvic pain around the area of pubic bone. Untreated urine infections may lead to complications in the pregnancy and you may even need to rush to a hospital for treatment.
Drinking enough water dilutes the urine and helps flush out bacteria present in the urinary tract. It is recommended to drink only filtered water as tap water may contain other minerals present in them that may be harmful. Installing a water filter ensures complete protection from the risk of contamination.
- Relieves Constipation and Bloating
Constipation and bloating are quite common in pregnancy. Hormonal changes and pressure on the womb lead to infrequent bowel movements and pain when passing the stool. The slowed digestion process can be increased by consuming foods rich in dietary fiber and high water content.
Good choices include fresh fruits, green vegetables, peas, lentils, cereal, porridge, and wholegrain bread. Drinking plenty of water keeps bowels soft and helpsthem move smoothly through intestines.
- Stops Swollen Feet
Your belly is not the only thing that is swelling during pregnancy. You may experience mild swelling throughout your body especially in your feet. The body produces 50% more blood and fluids to meet the needs of developing baby.
Edema, as it’s called, is caused due to retention of extra fluid to soften the body which enables it to expand as baby develops.
Avoiding long periods of sitting or standing, sleeping on your side, wearing comfortable shoes, and a brisk walk avoids the feet from swelling.Drinking water, in this case, may seem counterintuitive, but in reality, is quite effective in symptoms of swelling. It helps flush excess sodium from the body and other toxins, thus minimizing the effects.
How Much Water is Enough in Pregnancy?
Since you need more water than usual, how much is enough? The American Pregnancy Association recommends that expectant mothers should drink at least 10 glasses of water each day. For those, who like light exercises need to drink an extra glass of water for every hour of workout they do.
It is critical to note that pregnant women shouldn’t wait until thirsty to drink water. Once you are thirsty, you are already hydrated. It is essential not to let the body reach this point. While you may feel motivated to drinking enough water to keeping yourself cool in summers, drinking water in winter requires an extra effort. You may feel the urge to drink caffeinated tea and coffee, but you should avoid that and stick to consuming warm water.
If you have a hard time drinking enough water, here are a few tips to increase your intake.
- Add fresh fruits like lemon and raspberries in your water. You may also try calorie-free fruit-flavored water to add some variety.
- Always carry a water bottle with you and drinking water whenever you get a chance. Aim for reusable bottles as they use BPA free plastic.
- Drink a water-based beverage with your meals. It is nice to add milk or juice to your diet.
- Monitor your water intake through a journal. You can even try apps designed to track fluid levels and calories.