You are probably well aware of the importance of drinking water, and let’s face it- who really gets around to drinking enough water? But now that you are pregnant, drinking water is especially important, after all, you’re hydrating for two now. This doesn’t mean you need to drink sixteen glasses of water a day. The recommended eight cups a day are sufficient. The problem is, most women don’t meet this bare minimum amount of water. You are in the process of making a great deal of life changes right now- have an increase in water consumption be one of them. This will provide you with so many benefits before, during, and after your pregnancy.
You are eating all of the right things and taking your vitamins because you know that all the nutrients you put in yourself are delivered to your baby. What do you think carries them there? That’s right; water is what facilitates the absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals into your cells and it transports vitamins, minerals, and hormones into your blood cells. It is these blood cells that reach the placenta and ultimately, the baby.
Get Rid of Garbage
You aren’t just hydrating for two; you’re also excreting for two. Now that you have a little person living inside of you, you have twice as much “waste” for your body to get rid of. How is your body going to handle all of that? You guessed it- water. Water helps to dissolve waste products and flush them out of your kidneys. Drinking plenty of water keeps your urine diluted, which greatly reduces your risk of UTI’s (infections that occur in your bladder when urine hangs around for too long). Not only does drinking water obviously help in the number one department, it also helps tremendously in removing solid waste, helping it to move down the digestive path.
Turn Down the Heat
During your pregnancy, it might feel like someone is cranking up the heat in every room you enter. No, you don’t have a heat obsessed stalker- these heat waves, similar to ones you will experience during menopause later in life, are caused by your changing hormones. While there are only so many layers of clothing you can take off, drinking water helps cool you down, and keeps your cooling system running smoothly- you need water to sweat, and sweating is how your body gets rid of excess heat. Getting ample amounts of water also does wonders for pregnancy headaches and fatigue.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before- water hydrates you from the inside to the outside. This really is true, there’s no better way to keep your skin hydrated than by drinking water! You may notice that during your pregnancy, dryness, flakiness, and itchiness in your skin is becoming a bigger issue that it had been before. That is why during this time, getting those eight glasses in can be lifesavers. Water also strengthens the elasticity of your skin, keeping stretch marks at bay.
While we tend to associate water with water weight, it is actually the contrary. Drinking lots of water actually keeps excessive water retention under control. The reason for this is simple- when you are drinking enough water, your body doesn’t feel the need to try to save water by keeping it all in. While some water weight is to be expected during your pregnancy, drinking water greatly reduces the amount of unnecessary water your body retains.
By now, you should already know the importance of keeping in shape throughout your entire pregnancy, from before you conceive until after you give birth. If you are going to make the lifestyle change to exercise more frequently, water simply needs to become a part of this change. While I’m sure you bring a water bottle to the gym with you and take sips throughout your exercises, the few measly sips (or even chugs) are just not amount of water to replace the hydration you lose from your exercises. With an amped up workout regimen, especially while you are pregnant, about to become pregnant, or have just given birth, it is extremely important that you are drinking enough water to compensate for what you are losing. Bring your biggest water bottle to the gym, and don’t leave the gym until you have finished every last drop. Bonus points if you refill. Once you leave the gym, you are still responsible for re-hydrating your body, so the water drinking doesn’t end once you finish off your bottle- make sure you are still getting those eight glasses in throughout the day.
Hydrate to Feed
After your baby comes, you don’t automatically go back to hydrating for one. If you choose to breastfeed, you are still the main source of water for your baby as well. Your body needs tons of water in order to produce breast milk. Not getting a satisfactory amount of water can lead to a reduced amount of breast milk, or in some cases, a complete loss in the ability to produce milk. Most moms find that they are constantly thirsty when they are breastfeeding- this should be enough of a reminder to keep drinking water, but new moms are also busy, and put their own needs aside for the needs of their baby. But by ignoring your own thirst, you are also potentially preventing your baby from being able to drink, so no matter how busy you are, you always have time to drink more water!