Hydration! Hydration! Hydration!by Elizabeth MacDonald
The heat waves aren't over yet, even if you are dreaming of pumpkin spice. With the hottest summer on record, combined with being pregnant, hydration is the key to staying healthy.
Water is important to maintain a healthy body, and it becomes even more important while you are pregnant – and surviving the summer heat! 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. These risks, in turn, can lead to birth defects due to lack of water and nutritional support for your baby.”
While pregnant, 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. 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 Do You Need?
It’s said you need 8-10 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, so it is very important to stay on top of your water consumption. Doctors recommend 10-12 glasses of water a day during pregnancy, more throughout the summer months. You will want to drink before you feel the thirst craving attack. Fill your water cup regularly and sip throughout the day. The key is to ensure you are urinating frequently and have clear, odorless urine.
While you can prevent dehydration by consuming other fluids besides water, water is your best bet. It can be served with ice, at room temperature, or hot, but if the thought of one more glass of the clear stuff may push you into the deep end, stay hydrated by mixing in any of the following:
- Decaffeinated tea
- Infused water (cucumber, lemon, lime, frozen berries, etc)
- Sparkling water
- Bone broth
- Nondairy milk
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Healthy mocktails
Remember to avoid caffeine the best you can because it can cause dehydration. You can also avoid strenuous activities and being outside during the hottest hours of the day. Pay attention to your body and mental state carefully, as the slight crash that comes before dehydration can be felt. You can ward off complications and maintain a healthy (and comfortable) pregnancy with proper water intake.