Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Drinking water while pregnant

Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses per day (64 fluid ounces) of fluid, plus one 8-ounce cup for each hour of light activity. Milk, juice, decaffeinated drinks, and caffeinated drinks all contain plenty of water and "count" toward your fluid intake.

Keep in mind that juice and sweetened drinks also provide a lot of extra calories (most of which are sugar which I have been studying all the adverse effects of lately), so don't rely on them too much.

Also try to keep your caffeinated drinks to a minimum and refer to my post on caffeine for more information on that.

Why is drinking water so important?  Water facilitates the absorption of essential nutrients into the cells and transports vitamins, trace elements, minerals, and hormones to the blood cells. It's those nutrient-rich blood cells that reach the placenta and ultimately your baby. And don't forget, you're not just eating and drinking for two, you're also expelling waste for two. Water  dissolves the waste products and helps flush them from your body.

Don't cut down on your water and other fluid intake because you're afraid of retaining water, either. Oddly enough, the more fluids you drink during pregnancy, the less your body retains. So if your feet and ankles are swollen, drinking more water actually helps decrease that. Drinking water also helps regulate your body's internal cooling system which all pregnant ladies know is necessary (I am currently in a thin house dress and still too warm). Plus plenty of water can help with exhaustion and headaches so feel free to develop a drinking problem.

Another thing to note is an interesting discovery I made. Not only is it important to space your water intake throughout the day (because it is possible to drink too much at once, flood your system, and feel painfully bloated), but it also matters what vehicle you use to transport the water to your mouth. I like to drink from water bottles. I have several of them which I refill as needed. They are great for keeping cat hair from drifting into my beverage, or dust particles, or anything else that makes me dump my cup and refill it. More importantly though, I was using them as a way to track how much I drank throughout the day.

While house sitting for my aunt and uncle for a week I found that I wasn't feeling bloated nearly at all. I didn't understand this since none of my eating habits changed all that much and the ones that did change weren't necessarily better (I ate a lot of cheese). After coming back home, it was only a day before my bloating was back. I couldn't understand it and vocalized my frustration to Shannon who decided that my bloating issue wasn't just regular bloating associated with pregnancy, but something that could be potentially reduced if he could only figure out how....and he did! He had already warned me that drinking from a straw causes you to swallow more air with every drink and could cause bloating, but he now discovered that bottles had the same effect. The whole time I was house sitting I had been drinking from a glass (I was not going to cart 10 water bottles around with me so I left them at home). Eureka! Now I have started pouring my bottles into glasses (and avoiding cat hair whenever possible) and I can still measure my intake, but the bloat is gone. Pregnancy without the bloat, who would have thought?!

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