One of the simplest steps you can take to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy is to drink enough water.
In fact, studies show that you may need as much as 2,8-3 liters of water a day if you're expecting.
Not only does drinking water help keep you hydrated and healthy, but it also helps support your baby’s development. It can help reduce swelling, lower your risk of urinary infections and keep your digestive tract regular. Ahead, we'll explore why drinking water in pregnancy is so important, the risks of not drinking enough, and how to spot dehydration.
Why Is Drinking Water Important During Pregnancy?
Water is crucial for everyone, pregnant or not, since our bodies are composed of more than 60% water. Drinking water during your pregnancy is especially important because it helps support your baby’s growth, development, and metabolic activity.
aids in digestion,
supports your baby’s circulation,
balances your amniotic fluid,
allows for optimal absorption of water-soluble vitamins,
relieve from dry itchy skin
regulates body temperature, and more.
Meanwhile, if you are not drinking enough water to stay hydrated, you can experience an array of uncomfortable—and sometimes worrisome—symptoms such dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, and contractions.
There are also changes to a pregnant person's skin, so the more you can drink water and perfuse the skin, even better.
Recommended Daily Water Intake for Pregnant People.
When you are pregnant, your fluid needs increase. The current recommendation for water intake for pregnant people is 8 to 12 cups of water every day, although if it’s hot or you’ve been exercising, you’ll need more. Your daily water needs also will vary depending on what your body needs, your medical conditions, and your weight. That said, most pregnant people will need about two to three liters of water a day, which can include water or flavored water- without sugar. A good tip is to carry around a one-liter bottle and remembering to fill it at least twice a day.
Factors Influencing Your Hydration Needs During Pregnancy.
The amount of water you drank prior to pregnancy is usually not sufficient in pregnancy. To accommodate the needs of pregnancy,
there is an expansion of maternal blood plasma volume over 30% by the third trimester.
In addition, there are physiologic changes to the kidneys that include an increased filtration rate.
The combination of these factors in addition to the intrinsic needs of the fetus, creates an additional demand.
Yet, researchers found that only about one-third of people drink enough water during pregnancy.
Dealing with summer heat or even getting a sunburn increases the likelihood you will become dehydrated. Sunburned skin causes your body to lose moisture. Plus, if a pregnant person is very active or taking long walks every day, there is an even higher demand for non-caffeinated and low- or no-sugar fluids daily.
A good rule of thumb is to look at your urine color. Your urine will be pale yellow if you are well hydrated. If it starts to turn darker, increase fluid intake immediately.
Risks of Not Drinking Enough Water During Pregnancy.
There are a number of risks associated with not drinking enough water in pregnancy.
You may become more susceptible to urinary tract infections or painful constipation. You also can potentially experience preterm contractions.
If your body is dehydrated, the uterine muscles will sometimes begin to contract, causing cramping or painful contractions at a time that is too early for a full-term delivery (before 37 weeks).
Another risk of not drinking enough water in pregnancy is oligohydramnios, which is a condition that occurs when your amniotic fluid volume is too low. In fact, dehydration is often a leading cause of oligohydramnios, which can cause miscarriage, preterm birth, or even stillbirth. Your baby also may experience breathing difficulties when there is too little amniotic fluid.
Research also has connected chronic dehydration during pregnancy with a number of other issues. For instance, the weight and length of your baby at birth, as well as their head and chest circumference could be impacted by not drinking enough water.
Dehydration also causes you to feel sluggish, nauseated, and lightheaded.
Your blood pressure also, is lower in pregnancy than it is outside of pregnancy—especially in the second trimester (between 14 and 28 weeks). If you add dehydration to that, you can feel faint or pass out. Always look at the color of your urine and increase fluid intake as needed to keep it pale yellow.
Signs of Dehydration During Pregnancy.
Signs of mild dehydration include
dark yellow urine,
dry or sticky mouth,
Braxton-Hicks contractions are another sign of dehydration in pregnant people to watch out for. These only last a minute or two and are most common in the third trimester, but can happen in the second trimester as well.
If you are severely dehydrated,
you may be irritable or confused,
produce little to no urine,
have very dark urine,
have sunken eyes,
low blood pressure.
your skin may lack elasticity and it doesn’t bounce back when pinched.
Signs of dehydration can, at times, start slowly and then become very evident all at once.
At times, a pregnant person may feel a mild headache in the late morning, and then by late afternoon without having caught up on water intake, may have a splitting headache with uterine cramps and extreme fatigue.”
Sometimes it may take 30 minutes to an hour to catch up on water intake and start to feel better.
If you are still experiencing a persistent headache, fatigue, dizziness, or any uterine cramping after hydrating with rest, contact a health care provider and review your symptoms.
Practical Tips for Maintaining Proper Hydration During Pregnancy.
One of the best ways to keep up with the hydration needs of pregnancy is to have a water bottle. Not only does it let you know how much water you have consumed, but it also can be a reminder of how much you still need to drink for the day.
Some pregnant people also have found it useful to set alarms on a phone or watch to have reminders throughout the day to keep drinking those fluids.
You also can try eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content such as cucumber, apples, watercress, strawberries, watermelon.
Consider limiting foods that are natural diuretics such as coffee, black and green tea, and asparagus. When trying to decide what to drink throughout the day, remember that water is best as caffeinated and sugar-packed drinks can worsen dehydration, so stay away from those.
If pure water does not sound appetizing, try adding some lemon or a few pieces of fruit for taste.
Sports drinks are fine if you are losing electrolytes through diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating, but they can have unnecessary ingredients and lots of sugar.
“A healthy, happy mother is necessary for a healthy, happy child. I wish you well.
Find all beneficial information regarding nutrition during pregnancy to my Ebooks “Nutrition during pregnancy “ available at https://www.taniastouchofhealth.com/category/all-products
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