One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to drink more water. I know, seems like I’m setting the bar pretty low, but it’s a habit that I just never got into, and it’s important for everybody – and twice as important when you’re pregnant. That eight glasses a day that’s recommended for the normal population is an absolute minimum when you’re pregnant; you have to provide enough water to supply your fifty percent increase in blood volume, plus the amniotic fluid that your baby is floating around in. Drinking water has lots of important benefits specific to your pregnancy, both for you and for your baby.
The medical reasons for making sure you stay well hydrated range from cutting down on your risk of urinary tract infection – can you imagine having to go through a UTI while you’re pregnant? Ouch! – to improving the look of your skin and hair, to helping avoid constipation -another lovely image. Probably the absolute most important reason to keep the water flowing is that it helps prevent preterm labor contractions. When I was pregnant with the twins I waged a constant battle with premature labor; when the contractions would start, the first things I would grab were a pen to write down the time of each contraction and an enormous water bottle. At least half the time, once I’d downed about 24 or 32 ounces of water, the contractions would stop and we could relax again. If you’re not sure whether you’re drinking enough, check your urine; it should be clear or pale, and if it’s dark, you need more water.
There are plenty of ways to add more water to your routine. My two favorite water tricks “fool” me into thinking that I’m spoiling myself rather than following health rules. I keep a bottle of fruit juice or iced tea in the fridge, and add a splash of it to my water. It makes it more interesting, feels like a cheat but adds negligible calories. The other thing is that I’ve become a bit of a tea addict, and that can work for you too. Stay away from caffeine, and don’t consume any true herbal teas; it’s unclear what their impact could be on your pregnancy. But commercial brands like Celestial Seasonings make tons of flavors that can brighten your morning and soothe you at night. Treat yourself to a couple of pretty mugs and a box or two of raspberry or orange or vanilla tea, and you’ll find your water intake increasing easily.
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