Drinking plenty of water is important maintain a healthy body, and it becomes even more important when you're pregnant. Here's why it's so essential to stay hydrated during pregnancy, plus how many glasses moms-to-be should aim for each day.
Why is it so important to hydrate during pregnancy?
American Pregnancy states that dehydration can happen quickly, causing “serious pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor."
Ever wonder how all the good stuff in the prenatal vitamins and healthy foods you're faithfully consuming every day are shipped to your fetus? It all starts with water. The water you intake plays a vital role in producing extra blood that helps build new tissue, absorb essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals into the cells, and then transports these nutrient dense cells to the placenta. It also keeps your amniotic fluid at an ideal level and flushes out any toxins that could potentially cause problems.
While pregnant, Drinking enough water will also:
Reduce swelling, decreasing pre-eclampsia risks
Reduces risk of hemorrhoids
Keeps skin glowing with fewer blemishes
Provides ample fluids to allow proper sweating
Increases energy, decreases fatigue, and aids in peaceful sleep
Prevents excess cramping
Decreases risks of PROM and preterm birth
Lowers body temperature to prevent overheating
How much water should you drink each day while pregnant?
Health experts commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day when you aren’t pregnant, but what about while you are? Research shows that the further along you are in pregnancy, the easier it is to become dehydrated, therefore water consumption becomes even more important during pregnancy. Though it really varies based on your body type and size and how active you are, doctors recommend 10-12 glasses of water a day during pregnancy, more throughout the summer months. If you feel thirsty, it’s a sign that your body is already on its way to being dehydrated..
Try to space out your sips to keep them coming steadily throughout the day rather than gulping a lot at once, which could leave you feeling uncomfortably full. Since most of us don’t drink enough fluids, filling a water bottle or two every morning and keeping it handy all day takes the hassle out of hydration.
If the thought of one more glass of the clear stuff may push you into the deep end, keep in mind that about 20 percent of your daily water intake comes from food sources. Fruits pack the most water: One cup of watermelon or cantaloupe provides just under 5 ounces of water; a medium-size pear or one cup of strawberries provides about 4 and a half ounces; a medium size orange has 4 ounces. Got the sniffles? A cup of chicken soup yields roughly 6 ounces of water.
You can also stay hydrated by consuming in any of the following:
Infused water (cucumber, lemon, lime, frozen berries, etc)
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Remember to avoid caffeine because it can cause dehydration. Avoid strenuous activities that could cause overheating and being outside during the hottest hours of the day to help maintain hydration. In addition to the many benefits of staying adequately hydrated during your pregnancy, it’s also essential to the health of your baby. Talk to your provider if you have any questions.