PHOTO CREDIT: New Kids Center
It makes me happy that most of the prenatal clients I work with answer "yes" to my question "Are you drinking enough water?" But when I ask how much water, the answers vary greatly, and some of you expecting mothers out there are probably mildly dehydrated without realizing it! (Just like the rest of the population) Pregnant women need to be drinking more water than the rest of us; in fact, the Mayo Clinic reports that pregnant women should drink at least 10 cups of water per day, and that nursing mothers should drink at least 13 cups. This is the minimum! If you exercise, even light exercise like walking, you should be consuming more water than that.
Why does proper water intake matter so much when you're pregnant? Here are two reasons to consider:
1. It Can Help Prevent Constipation and Urinary Tract Infections
Constipation is very common among pregnant women, because you are now housing a small person who must receive nutrients and liquids via your body, and also get rid of waste via your body. There is more waste being created, and so you require more water in order to break it down. Often, simply drinking more water can greatly alleviate constipation and help move the waste through your system more regularly.
Similarly with UTIs, the greater amount of waste to process can cause waste to gather in the kidneys or urine to dwell in the bladder. This becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, which is the cause of UTI's. Water keeps it moving and flushes the bladder and kidneys clear.
2. It Can Help Prevent Overheating and Headaches
Did you know that your internal body temperature rises when you are pregnant? (This is another reason to move away from your intense spinning classes and running and toward toning, breath oriented exercise like yoga... And NO hot yoga!)
If you don't have enough fluids in your body, your body cannot regulate its temperature through the form of sweat. In turn, you will develop dehydration headaches, which are no fun to deal with, and are totally preventable. Just consistently drink water throughout the day, and opt for small drinks here and there rather than huge gulps, which can cause bloating and discomfort.
Think of this as the most productive time to start a new habit: proper hydration! Your baby and you will thrive because of it. And, as I mentioned earlier, this is a habit you'll need to sustain if you are nursing. Get a fun reusable water bottle to bring into your day, and start drinking that H2O!