It’s the age-old problem that most of us suffer from – not consuming enough water throughout the day! It used to be a “recommended” 8 glasses of water daily, but that was just the minimum to prevent dehydration (and there’s no actual research to support this “great idea”). For women, we’re supposed to consume 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluids in a day, and for men, 13 cups (3 liters). Notice it says “FLUIDS”. So technically, you could count anything as a fluid. But we forget that a lot of the beverages we consume actually deplete our body of the hydration it needs to properly and healthily function.
So generally, the 8 by 8 principle is a good one to follow – 8 -eight ounce cups of WATER a day should keep you on top of your game.
That number changes again when you’re pregnant. Now you’re up to more like 8 to 10 -eight ounce cups of water a day. This can be tricky to do when pregnant, but there are loads of benefits in doing so.
- If you’re not drinking enough water, it can cause more frequent Braxton-Hicks – dehydration causes the muscles in your uterus to contract more frequently.
- If you’re not drinking enough water, you may get more headaches or feel more nauseated
- If you drink lots of water you can help control some of those pregnancy cravings when you aren’t really hungry
- If you drink more water, you can have more energy to get through the day (well, at least to suppertime before you crash)
I used to drink water like a horse – 3 to 4 full nalgene bottles a day. But once I had kids and my body changed, I couldn’t consume that much water any longer. I’ve especially struggled with water consumption during pregnancy. But there are a few tricks that I’ve learned to help remind and encourage me to drink more water – and they work whether you’re pregnant or not!
1. If drinking straight water makes you nauseated, try it in different forms.
Adding lemon or lime, buying sparkling water (watch the sugar on the labels!), drinking it warm/hot or ice cold, adding half apple juice, or trying bottled. This pregnancy I found ice cold water sipped through a straw SLOOOOOOWLY and continually throughout the day helped to at least satisfy my thirst. Oh, that’s another thing – don’t gulp your water. Take your time drinking it!
2. Buy a big water bottle – and keep it filled.
The hard part for me is making sure my kids don’t snag my water during the day, or I lose track of how much I’ve drunk! Buy a big water bottle, like a nalgene or Sigg (they come in all sorts of fun shapes and sizes!), and keep it filled every time you drain it. 2-3 of these a day gets you more than enough fluids!
3. Pee more often.
Yes, our bladders are teeny tiny when pregnant (or for some, all the time) and don’t hold a lot of water, which is a turn-off for some people in drinking fluids. But the more often you use the bathroom, the more you can refill your bladder :D If you put off using the bathroom, you’re wasting valuable water-drinking time – so just go already! ;0) And then drink a glass of water.
4. Drink less caffeine.
Coffee and tea typically go right through you. So if you’re drinking more than a cup a day, you’re taking up valuable space in your bladder when you could/should be consuming water instead.
5. Drink every time you eat.
Whether it’s a meal or a snack, always have a glass of water with it.
6. Drink when you feel thirsty.
Excuse me, all this talk about water is making my mouth feel dry. One minute while I snag my water bottle!
Now where was I? Oh yes, water and thirst.
When you exercise, your body uses up fluids, and if you don’t replenish those fluids, you feel thirsty. So if you exercise, you’ll not only benefit your body and your baby during pregnancy, you’ll also feel thirsty and need to drink more (see #6!).
8. Eat foods that have a high water content.
Some of my favourite foods are celery and watermelon – they’re both over 90% water! Some other great options are apples, bananas, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, peaches, pears, oranges….the list could go on and on!
9. Set reminders in your phone.
Set it to go off at intervals to remind you to drink some water! Put those little computers to good use!
10. Always keep a bottle of water in your vehicle.
That way, if you’re rushing out the door late and have a bit of a road trip ahead of you, you’ll at least have your hydration station already in the car waiting for you! Just make sure you map out where the restrooms are along the way ;0)