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- Why is Water Important in Pregnancy?
- Benefits of Drinking Water in Pregnancy
- How Much Water Should a Pregnant Women Drink?
- Is Water the Only Way to Keep Hydrated?
- Different Ways to Increase Daily Water Intake
- How to Ensure Whether You Drink Safe and Clean Water
- Effects of not drinking enough water while pregnant
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Your diet is not all that changes when you are pregnant; changing the amount of water you drink is important too, as it is imperative for the progress of the pregnancy.
Why is Water Important in Pregnancy?
A mom-to-be should be well-hydrated because water is very important for her growing foetus. Water not only carries oxygen and essential nutrients to the cells, tissues and organs of a pregnant woman, but it also transports all these important nutrients to the foetus. Water plays a pivotal role in transporting all the prenatal vitamins to your baby.
When you become pregnant, your body requires more water to meet the changing requirements. Along with meeting the developmental needs of the foetus, water is also one of the main components for the production of breast milk.
Benefits of Drinking Water in Pregnancy
Ever wondered how all the nutrients from the food that you faithfully consume reach your baby? It all starts with keeping yourself hydrated. Here, we shall discuss the various benefits of drinking water in pregnancy:
- Water keeps your body hydrated during pregnancy. If the body is not well-hydrated during pregnancy, it may cause cramps, headache, nausea, etc.
- Drinking water helps in keeping the problem of water retention at bay.
- Adequate water intake during the third trimester keeps you away from preterm labour and contractions.
- It keeps you away from urinary tract infection (UTI) which is a very common pregnancy problem.
- It aids in good digestion and helps in smooth bowel movements.
- It also keeps you away from the problem of haemorrhoids by easing constipation.
- Water also helps in getting rid of excess sodium and aids in minimising swelling of feet and ankles (oedema).
- It keeps a check on the body’s thermostat levels and cools the body.
- It also helps in relieving morning sickness, heartburn and acidity.
- It also keeps fatigue in check.
How Much Water Should a Pregnant Women Drink?
During pregnancy, you should drink about 10 cups or 2.3 litres of water or other fluids in a day. However, the need for water varies for all women. It is absolutely normal if you feel the need to consume more or less water than the recommended standards. You can easily find out whether you are getting enough fluids by checking the colour of your urine. Colourless or pale yellow colour urine indicates that you are taking sufficient amount of fluids. If you are urinating less and the colour of your urine is dark yellow, then you need to pep up your water intake.
You may also be required to increase your water intake during pregnancy if you are exercising, living in a warm climate or high altitude area. It is recommended to keep a bottle of water always close to you so that you are reminded to sip it.
Is Water the Only Way to Keep Hydrated?
The fluid intake during pregnancy not only constitutes water but other fluids too. Milk, coffee, tea, fruit and vegetable juices also add to your fluid intake. It is recommended to limit your intake of tea, coffee or any aerated drinks as these drinks are diuretics. These diuretic drinks lead to increased urination and thus make you lose more water from the body.
Some pregnant women limit their fluid intake thinking that it may lead to water retention. On the contrary, limiting your water intake may result in water retention. Nausea may also make you stay away from water, so it is suggested to keep sipping water instead of gulping down at one go. If you do not like the taste of normal water, you may try flavoured water during pregnancy, which can be made by adding a little lemon to the water.
Different Ways to Increase Daily Water Intake
Following are the ways you can increase your water intake during pregnancy:
- You should drink water after every bathroom visit.
- Make sure you drink every two hours.
- Keep a water bottle always handy and sip from time to time.
- You may also set an alarm for drinking water.
- You may consume more watery fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and cucumber.
- You may also add flavour to the water if you do not like the taste of plain water. Adding a lemon or orange wedge is a good idea.
- You may also replace water with other fluids such as milk, buttermilk, coconut water, etc.
How to Ensure Whether You Drink Safe and Clean Water
If drinking water plays a pivotal role during pregnancy, so does its cleanliness. It is very important for you to ensure that the water you drink is safe and clean. Therefore, it is recommended to drink filtered or bottled water to keep water-borne diseases during pregnancy at bay. You may also boil the drinking water to kill any bacteria or virus that may be present. Carrying your own bottle is a good idea whenever you step out from your house. You may buy drinking water too, but make sure the seal is intact. Make sure to check the expiry or best before date before accepting packaged water bottles.
Stay away from aerated drinks and sodas. If you wish to drink anything cold, opt for chilled water instead. Refrain from using ice cubes also as they may be contaminated.
Effects of not drinking enough water while pregnant
If you are not properly hydrated during pregnancy, you may have health complications. Some of the health complications that may result from not drinking enough water are:
- You may experience maternal overheating, which means your body may find it difficult to regulate heat. Overheating may cause neural tube defects in babies.
- Lack of water in the body may lead to decreased levels of amniotic fluid that protects and helps your baby to grow.
- Insufficient water intake later in pregnancy may lead to premature labour.
- You may feel dizzy, which is a common cause of dehydration.
- You may get severe or bad headaches because of dehydration.
- It might also affect the breast milk supply post pregnancy.
Water is very important throughout your pregnancy for the healthy development of the baby and also for your overall health. It is recommended to stay hydrated during pregnancy to keep any dehydration-related problems away. You should get in touch with your doctor as soon as you notice any sign of dehydration in your body.
Also Read: Coconut Water during Pregnancy