Staying Hydrated When You're Drinking for Two
The more water you drink, the more often you have to pee. And when you're already making several middle-of-the-night bathroom trips, bumping up your water intake probably sounds unappealing. But going to the bathroom a lot, while annoying, is a good thing. It means that you're staying hydrated. Getting enough water is a critical part of having a healthy pregnancy, so drink up.
Pregnant women should aim to drink at least 10 cups of fluids per day. You'll get additional fluids from food sources, but in terms of drinking, aim for at least that amount. When the baby arrives, up that intake if you decide to breastfeed. Water is a major component of breast milk, so you have to drink a lot of it to produce enough milk to feed your baby. Aim to drink at least 13 cups of fluids per day.
Beverages other than water count toward your fluid intake. Juice, tea, soda and other nonalcoholic drinks can be part of your daily diet. Those beverages are generally fine in moderation (unless your doctor tells you otherwise), but they also contain calories, sugar, chemicals and other additives that plain water doesn't. That's why the bulk of your daily fluids should be water.
These are general guidelines. If you're carrying multiples, exercise regularly or live in a hot climate, you might need more than 10 cups of water each day. Eating lots of foods with a high water content, like watermelon and cucumbers, will also help keep you adequately hydrated.
Why Water Matters
If you find drinking water to be a chore, making yourself sip from your water bottle might be easier if you think about all the ways this liquid helps your baby.
Water keeps your body's organs working normally, allows you to regulate your body temperature, gives you energy and helps with weight control. When you're pregnant, all those benefits still hold. But now, drinking water can also help you avoid some unpleasant side effects of pregnancy including constipation, swelling and hemorrhoids. Adequate water intake helps your baby develop normally and might even prevent premature labor.
Upping Your Intake
Sure, you mean to drink more water. But then suddenly it's dinner time, and you can't remember the last time you had anything to drink. If that sounds familiar, you'll need a little help setting yourself up for hydration success.
Try filling a clear 10-cup water pitcher each morning and keeping it on the counter, near the front of the fridge or in some other location where you'll see it repeatedly throughout the day. Using a water-tracking app is an even easier way to stay on target. Input your goals, and the app will periodically remind you to take a sip. And if it's the taste of water that puts you off, infuse a pitcher of water with lemon, lime, cucumbers and mint or berries overnight.
If you're drinking enough water, you probably will have to go to the bathroom frequently, especially in the third trimester when your baby's position puts pressure on your bladder. The color of your urine can tell you a lot about your hydration level. The paler the urine, the more hydrated you are. Dark yellow urine is a sign you're not drinking enough. If your urine is dark but you feel like you've been drinking a lot of water, call your doctor.
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Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.