Especially when you are pregnant or breastfeeding drinking water is one of those critical things that helps keep you healthy and more comfortable. A pregnant body needs more water than average to help build a new human, and someone who is breastfeeding needs extra water to nourish their little one. As someone who is both pregnant and breastfeeding as I write this my body is screaming at me to drink more and more water daily.
The Benefits of Drinking More Water
Regulates body temperature, if you are dealing with pregnancy during the summer chances are you are fighting a battle over your body temp with the world around you. Keeping yourself hydrated will help with ensuring your comfort and health throughout the season.
Being hydrated means you will have a sharper mind then when you are dehydrated. Our brains need enough water for all the cells to function and talk to each other properly.
Less likely to have headaches, many times when we get a headache it’s a sign of dehydration. So drinking enough water will prevent these sometimes excruciatingly painful headaches and reduces the need to pop pain killers.
Glowing Skin, yup, one of the side effects of pregnancy is glowing skin. And often it is not just a hormone thing. Water helps keep your internal filtering system working, and keeps your organs at optimal functionality, which in turn leads to thinks like clearer skin.
Easier weight management, one of the great things with being pregnant is that we will gain some weight. However we do want to ensure that it is a healthy weight, and one of the great ways to keep that in balance is by drinking enough water. Even if you are on a perfect diet drinking enough water will help you balance hunger/full cues and often times when we are hungry it’s really our body saying “I need a drink!”
Better Digestion, drinking enough water can also prevent constipation. When we are pregnant we have a higher risk of getting constipated due to all the extra internal pressure and making sure we get enough water in our system means one less thing to worry about.
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How much water should you drink?
It’s likely that you’ve heard at some point to drink 8 glasses a day, however, this is not going to be true/accurate for everyone and depends on the size of glass you are using. Honestly, not all glasses contain the same amount of liquid and not all women need the same amount of water.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that women drink an average of 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day, including liquids from other sources. They also state that most people can stay hydrated by drinking water when they feel thirsty.
What influences your need for water
However, there are a number of factors that weigh in on how much water a body needs.
For example, if you exercise a lot or are active in general you will likely need to replace the water used up in the activity. You will also need to replace the electrolytes as well.
Your environment can also make you sweat (think hot or humid). And apparently, even high altitudes can also increase your need for water.
Your current health, if you have a fever, diarrhea or are vomiting (morning sickness anyone?), you will also be losing more fluids and will need to drink more.
Find out more about how to deal with Morning Sickness.
Pregnancy or Breastfeeding. Of course, those of us who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding will need more water to help support the new life as it grows.
Your current diet. If you like to eat or drink things that tend to dry you out you are also more likely to need more water. Drinking things like coffee or tea with caffeine in them can increase your need for water. Whereas eating watermelon is more likely to refresh your supply as it contains so much water.
But beyond this how much water is optimal for you will vary from others. No one seems to need the same amount and even with all the research on this, sources out there vary on the exact recommendations they give.
How to know you are getting enough water
The Mayo Clinic states that you are likely getting enough water when you rarely feel thirsty and your urine (pee) is colorless or light yellow. There may be other signs as well but these seem to be pretty standard across the research I’ve read.
So experiment to see what will work best for you, and keep in mind that over time your needs may change. Right now I carry with me a water bottle that is 24 fluid oz and I typically fill it five (5) to six (6) times a day during the week and once or twice on the weekends. It works for me, but that may be too much or not enough for you.
Tips to Make Drinking Water a habit
So how to keep yourself hydrated when the taste starts to gross you out?
Make Water Fun
Get a cute water bottle that is easy to carry with you at all times, bonus if it is insulated for keeping cool drinks cold as well.
Track your water on a calendar and use adorable stickers for every time you finish off a glass or meet your water goals for the day.
Make it tasty
Infuse your water with fruit or veggies. Some commonly used produce is:
Blueberries this anti-oxidant and potassium-packed berry also contains vitamins that help your body use carbs, proteins, and fats more effectively.
Cucumber helps flush toxin out of your body (think used up energy from building that baby or nursing). And is reputed to help with bad breath too.
Lemons which contain citric acid and helps in the digestion process. Also a great source of vitamin C
Mint can also help with the digestive process and can soothe stomach aches and slow the growth of some bacterias. (Help for morning sickness?)
Oranges like most citrus is packed with vitamin C. They also have potassium and calcium for staving off muscle cramps and growing bones.
Strawberries contain vitamins and minerals and may help to reduce swelling.
Raspberries can help balance your metabolism and are another source of many vitamins.
Watermelon is water-packed but also full of electrolytes, it contains potassium to help regulate heart rates and blood pressure.
Add a water flavor packet (bonus for ones that contain vitamins or minerals too!)
Water flavour. The zero calorie, probably not good for you kind. I tried fruit infused and even the thought of it made me gag. But the water flavour was great.
Anna @ AbrazoAndCoze.com
I second the fruit infused water… especially lemon water. Not only did lemon water work to keep me hydrated during pregnancy but it also was really effective at helping with morning sickness. I would also suggest getting a yeti or hydro flask or something like that and knowing how many times your have to fill that up each day. My doc told me to aim for half my pregnancy weight in ounces each day and more if you notice swelling.
Ashely @ MomLikeYouMeanIt.com
Make it Pretty
Again, I can’t say enough for a cute water bottle or mug/cup! You are more likely to drink from it if it’s cute/adorable.
I pretty much lived on lime seltzer water my first trimester during my first pregnancy. I had morning sickness and I didn’t want to eat or drink much of anything. I’m not sure if it was the bubbles or the mild flavor that helped but it helped me to drink lots of water.
Christina @ RaisingBiracialBabies.com
Make it easy
Keep your water bottle, or cup on your desk at work right in front of you. Or clip that water bottle to your purse when on the go. Whatever you do make sure it’s easy and simple to take with you.
While we are at it, make it easy to track too! A simple piece of tape around the bottle to put a mark on when you fill it might work better than an app on your phone.
Keep it cold
I keep a water filter jug (Britta) in the fridge that is always filled and ready to drink because I tend to drink more water that way.
Also, there are tones of insulated bottles and mugs out there that can be used to keep your drink cold on the go!
Add frozen fruit, the fruit will keep the water cold and infuse it with flavor as it melts. With my first pregnancy, I had bags of frozen blueberries in the freezer because it was the best part of drinking water! An added benefit you can still eat the berries after if you want to.
With my last pregnancy, I was nauseous 24/7 for the first 5 months. The only way I could manage to drink water was if it was infused with fruit. I would make a pitcher of water, slice up a bunch of oranges, lemons, or limes and keep it in the refrigerator.
Rebbecca from CollectingClovers.com
Add some fizz
You can add things like sparkling water to regular water to add some fizz.
In our house we add a little bit of 7up with honey to a glass of water and kiddo won’t give it back until he’s finished.
I also know someone who swears by her soda stream, which is a device that injects bubbles into your water. Just make sure you read the ingredients list first on the packs I haven’t checked them out myself yet.
Use a water tracker
I’ve added a section in my bullet journal for every time I fill up my water bottle, but you could do something simple like a piece of masking tape on it that you write a tick mark on every time you fill it up too!
Outside of that there are lots of apps for your phone that will track your water, and if you get one of those high tech water bottles it might even do the tracking for you.
Use Hot Water or Tea
Some people prefer warm water, and others love hot! So if you are used to making tea you may especially want to try this. Just boil it up like you are making tea and skip the bag.
The other option is, of course, switching to caffeine-free teas. I would recommend checking with your doctor or midwife though to see if the teas are safe for you. Some of the herbal teas can have an impact on pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. For instance, Red RaspBerry leaf tea is commonly used to help with labor.
I would make ice cubes of lemon/lime/any squeezed fruit juice and put them in water or herbal tea!
Jenni @ RootsOfTruth.ca
Eat your water
While technically it isn’t drinking many fruits and vegetables are made up of lots of water. Some even have other benefits that help with things like pregnancy and breastfeeding and promote things that help with postpartum recovery.
Eat a lot of watermelon, while this isn’t drinking water, watermelon is mostly made of water and along with many other fruits can help keep your hydration levels up. Just watch how much sugar you’re getting from fruits.
Some Water Rich Veggies are:
– Celery (95% water)
– Cucumber (96% water)
– Lettuce (96% water)
– Zucchini (95% water)
Some Water rich Fruits are:
– Cantaloupe (90% water)
– Grapefruit (89% water)
– Strawberries (91% water)
– Watermelon (92% water)
I used powedered packets with caffeine for my water bottles. I still love them!
Rachel @ ThisCraftyHome.com
Make it part of your routine
There are a lot of little ways that you can sneak water into your routine without making it hard or a challenge for you. Tips like:
- Have a glass beside your bed for first thing in the morning, and drink it
- have a cup before each meal
- train yourself to have a drink when you do a repetitive task (like check your email)
- Have a timer on your phone that reminds you
I add “concentrace” liquid minerals to my water to make it palatable. Then it tastes like fancy expensive water 🙂
Charisty @ joyfitfam.com
So what is the *BEST* way to drink more water in your day?
Really this is going to vary from person to person. What works for me may not work for the next lady and vice versa. So try one or two options and run with it for a few weeks, see if it helps. Listen to your body and go from there.
Can you drink too much water?
The simple answer is “YES”, but it’s uncommon and occurs when your kidneys can’t filter out the excess water. This causes the sodium in the blood to become diluted and that can be life-threatening.
Most of the time you’ll see this in high-performance athletes who participate in long or intense workouts or endurance events. If you are eating well and drinking to your thirst you are likely safe from needing to worry about this.