Staying hydrated is vital for the proper functioning of the human body. This fact becomes even more important when you are expecting your bundle of joy. You face the risk of becoming dehydrated more easily when you are pregnant, and this can have many untoward consequences. Staying amply hydrated will ensure that there is enough amniotic fluid to cushion your baby comfortably. But knowing what and how much to drink is also equally important. In this article we explore the question of how to stay hydrated during pregnancy and discuss some doable ways to up your water intake, while ensuring your safety and comfort.
What is the ideal amount of water intake during pregnancy?
Water intake during pregnancy plays a key role in ensuring the health of both you and your baby. Water is needed for a plethora of functions that happen when you are pregnant. It ensures that that level of amniotic fluid is well maintained and provides your baby with a fresh supply of blood. Drinking water during pregnancy is crucial to aid proper digestion of food and to ensure that the nutrients are carried to your baby.
It is water that ensures that the nutrients are being absorbed into your body and it is transported to the blood cells, which in turn reaches the placenta, and ultimately your baby. Staying hydrated ensures that you have reduced swelling and softer skin and that you are not susceptible to UTI.
Water intake during pregnancy generally depends on your body type and size, how active you are, the weather conditions around you etc. But generally, as a rule of thumb, ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) suggests drinking around 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. It is best to have a chat with your doctor about your lifestyle and decide on the water intake ideal for you. If your bathroom visits are frequent and the color of your urine is colorless or pale yellow, then your water intake is good to go.
Dehydration in pregnancy, its symptoms, and effects
During pregnancy your body undergoes several changes, as it readies itself to accommodate a growing fetus. The amount of water you need will also increase along with the need for more nutrients. This translates into the risk of getting dehydrated more quickly than under normal conditions. As the baby develops, the amount of fluid needed for healthy development also increases.
The amniotic fluid is essential to keep your baby healthy and protected in the womb. Dehydration in pregnancy may lead to a lessening of the fluid which may lead to risk of birth defects and miscarriage.
Dehydration in pregnancy can manifest itself in many ways, ranging from subtle to complicated. Let’s have a look at some of the symptoms:
Sticky mouth and decreased sweating
It often becomes difficult to eat and drink properly during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, due to vomiting and nausea. This can lead to dehydration, as your body loses fluids and electrolytes which must be replenished. Passing urine sporadically, dark colored urine, dryness in the mouth, decreased sweating may all be ways that your body is letting you know that you may be dehydrated.
A feeling of sluggishness, irritability or dizziness may also mean that you need to up your water intake.
If you are constantly experiencing headaches, especially painful ones like migraine, it could be an important sign of dehydration.
Make sure you are drinking enough water
Since your body is going through a lot of rapid changes, drinking water during pregnancy becomes imperative, to ensure the safety and development of the fetus and yourself.
Dehydration in pregnancy may affect fetal growth, leading to lesser weight, length, and head circumference at the time of birth.
Dehydration may also lead to a fall in the blood pressure known as hypotension, which may need immediate attention from your physician. Limited intake of water may also manifest as urinary tract infections and in some cases may even pose the threat of preterm labor. If you cannot hold down water or fluids due to severe cases of vomiting or diarrhea, then your doctor might suggest replenishment by the way of intravenous fluids.
5 Tips on How to stay hydrated during pregnancy
Pregnancy is not an easy time for most people. It takes a toll on the body, with a slew of related issues like morning sickness, fatigue, constipation etc. All these factors may cause a lower water intake during pregnancy. Here are some ways to ensure that you stay on top of your water intake goals.
1.Try different forms of fluids
Although water is the best drink to up your hydration levels, milk, soups, fruit juices or food with high water content may do just as well. This will bring a variety to your palate if you are bored of drinking plain water. Try infusing your plain water with herbs and fruits like mint, cucumber, or berries if the thought of downing plain water seems unpalatable.
2.Make it part of your routine
Make it a habit to reach out for a glass of water first thing after you get up and ten minutes before you go to bed. This will ensure that your body remains hydrated when it sleeps. It will also help your body deal with waste that may have accumulated throughout the day, ensuring proper digestion and metabolic activities and help you maintain proper water intake during pregnancy.
3.Split your water intake mindfully
It is not a good idea to gulp down a liter of water to make up for poor water intake throughout the day. Pace your water consumption throughout the day, in small quantities, to ensure that you are not dehydrated at any point in the day. Start with a glass or two of water on waking up and ensure that you drink a glass of water sometime after lunch and dinner. Always carry a water bottle with you and take small sips from it throughout the day.
4.Don’t wait for thirst to hit
By the time you are thirsty and reach out for that glass of water, chances are that you are already mildly dehydrated. If you cannot drink a whole glass of water at time, take a couple of sips at regular intervals. Keep your water bottle in your line of vision, make use of tracker apps or a good old alarm system to remind you to drink water.
5.Eat your water
A good way to ensure that your body is meeting its hydration goals is to choose your food wisely. Many water rich foods do double duty by hydrating your body along with providing it nutrients. Milk, soups, and juices are all good sources of hydration for your body. Snack on water rich fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumber. Including leafy greens and fresh fruits in your diet and avoiding alcoholic drinks and limiting caffeine will ensure that you are sufficiently hydrated without taking extra efforts.
Keeping yourself adequately hydrated, along with healthy eating and staying active as per your doctor’s advice, is one of the best ways to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. Along with keeping you safe from a lot of pregnancy related problems, adequate water intake during pregnancy, will also ensure great skin and may make you feel less tired. So, go ahead and drink up that glass of water with an extra sip for your baby.