You’ve probably heard this a million times, but drinking enough water while you’re pregnant is an absolute must. Here are five reasons why and how you can drink more water.
Why you need more
Flush out toxins
Water is essential to flush toxins from your body. Toxins can come from anything including the pesticides in our food or the household cleaners we use to the airborne pollutants from car exhausts that we breathe in on a daily basis.
By drinking enough water, you’ll keep your eliminatory systems functioning at their best. This can mean less constipation and less urinary tract infections (which are annoying, even if you’re not pregnant). Yes, that might mean peeing a little bit more than usual, but hey, you’re pregnant, you’re allowed to pee as much as you want!
Clear your skin
It might sound superficial, but this reason alone keeps me drinking water throughout the day: clear, glowing skin.
Most people don’t know that your skin is your largest eliminatory organ, so one of its functions is to eliminate toxins from our body. If you’re not drinking enough water to ensure those toxins exit our bodies through your wee and poop, they’re going to build up under your skin and skin can look dull and breakout.
Water will also help reduce swelling. It may sound counterintuitive, but your body will try to hold onto more water when you’re dehydrated. Drinking enough water will help prevent swollen ankles and feet.
Protect your baby
In the earlier half of pregnancy, water is needed to help build the placenta which provides nutrients to your baby. In the later stages of pregnancy, water is needed to maintain the size of your baby’s amniotic sac which protects your baby. If you’re dehydrated, the size of the amniotic sac is compromised.
Prevent preterm labor
Dehydration can trigger contractions before you want them and in severe cases, it can lead to preterm labor. In one of my checkups, my OBGYN said that dehydration is the most common reason why pregnant women are admitted into ER for preterm labor. Needless to say, from that appointment on, I was carrying a water bottle with me wherever I went!
What can you do?
· Drink water through a straw. I find that I drink faster when I drink through a straw. Each day, I fill up my mason jar with water and sip at it all day through a straw. It actually works! I drink at least 100 oz of water each day this way.
· Never leave home without a water bottle. Even if its empty, it’s a good habit to carry one. That way it can be refilled as needed and you’re never left thirsty for long.
· Limit your sweetened drinks to prevent dehydration and excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Experiment and find ways to spice up your water. Get a quart-sized mason jar, chop up some lemon, lime, cucumber or mint and keep refilling it with water or seltzer water throughout the day. Add a couple of drops of stevia if you still need a sweet “kick”.
Aim to drink enough water so your pee is pale yellow. Drink more if you exercise or sweat – or if you drink caffeinated beverages.
Signs of dehydration?
If you’re already thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Don’t worry, drink a glass (or two) of water and aim to drink as much as you can for the rest of the day to keep your fluid levels up.
Signs of dehydration also include a headache, dizziness, irritability and fatigue. If you know you’re dehydrated, drink up, rest and take it easy. You’ll be doing yourself - and your baby - a favor.