“All we are is dust in the wind.”
WRONG. All we are is Water. Well, mostly. Around 57-60% water. We drink water when we’re thirsty but by that point, about 3% of our body’s water has been lost. Thirst is a late, late effect of dehydration. You know how you’re supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day, every day? Well it’s even more important when you’re pregnant. (And I mean the whole pregnancy. Not just when the imaging technicians torture you by commanding you to drink a gallon of water AND NOT PEE for an hour before your ultrasounds.) Not only do you have to keep yourself hydrated, but you have to make sure the little one growing inside of your belly has enough as well. With all the “transporting” of nutrients that water does between you and your baby, there are some pretty sweet benefits to making sure you aren’t parched for nine months.
Reduces Morning Sickness
One of the most common symptoms associated with pregnancy is Morning (or not morning) Sickness. I know I never really had “morning sickness” because I didn’t throw up even once, but I did get a LOT of nausea. Again, this was before I figured out how to drink as much water as I do. I even notice the difference now if I kind of slack and wait until lunch to have some water – I’ll feel “off” with a bit of a headache until I’m properly hydrated.
Like morning sickness, constipation is another pregnancy woe. The weight of your uterus can put pressure on your rectum, making it harder for waste to pass through when it’s “time.” Making sure you’re hydrated prevents rock hard stools, making it easier to go to the bathroom. I actually wanted to make sure this didn’t happen simply because there was no way I was dealing with a hemorrhoid. I didn’t know much about them to begin with – I thought that they were only for old people and then you buy that donut at the pharmacy. But apparently you get them when you strain or push too hard! And what happens when you’re constipated? You strain and push too hard! Coincidentally, when you’re giving birth – you strain and push too hard. Fortunately the Hypnobirthing method actually discourages pushing, and instead asks you to “breathe your baby down” to reduce pain, tearing, and overall a more pleasant and non-traumatic birth for both you and the baby. One of the ways to practice this method is actually on the toilet while having bowel movements. Let me tell you, I haven’t had one traumatic poop in the past nine months. (woohoo!)
I have problems with clear skin on a non-pregnant day, so I wanted to make extra sure that my crazy hormones wouldn’t contribute to yet more spots and breakouts. Not only are they just plain annoying and embarrassing, but my go-to zapping weapon of choice – salicylic acid – is not recommended for use during pregnancy. I have to admit that in my first trimester, this was a problem for me – but I also didn’t have an established “water solution” (more on that further down). Now that I’m almost 9 months pregnant, I can honestly say that I’m pleasantly surprised with how my skin has held up! I’ve known many women who’ve suffered from pregnancy acne and have the scars to prove it. I went through all that in high school, thank you very much. I don’t need to go through that nightmare AGAIN. Fortunately, loading up on h2O daily seems to have spared me my complexion. (And the myth is false – I’m having a girl!)
Reduces Swelling or Edema
I know, it sounds contradictory, but the more water you drink, the less you retain as the water helps flush out extra sodium from your body. So if your wedding ring doesn’t fit anymore, or you have to buy a new pair of “pregnant” shoes, it might be time to drink up!
Reduces the Risk of Urinary Tract Infections
During pregnancy, peeing is almost non-stop. What’s even worse, is that the bladder gets weak and doesn’t empty out completely, so you can always feel like you need to go, even if you just went. Unfortunately, having this old urine sit in the bladder for an extended period of time gives bacteria a chance to breed and multiply, which is what triggers a UTI. And just for kicks, the bacteria can further travel up to the kidney, causing an even more severe kidney infection. So keep peeing. Keep drinking, and peeing.
So what was my water solution?
Even though I had a pregnancy app with a “hydration counter,” of course I didn’t use it, and I wasn’t getting the water that I needed. I wasn’t drinking water unless I wanted water, and as you know – thirst is a late stage of dehydration. So I’d fill up a tall glass of water, maybe drink 2/3 of it, and then that was that until meal time, or until the next time I was thirsty. Obviously, I needed a better way.
Enter: Big Girl Sippy Cup.
You know the lidded plastic cup that your venti Green Tea Frappuccino comes in (sigh… only a few more days!) – those exist in hard, reusable form!! Starbucks sells them, Wal-Mart sells them – I got this one for $5 at Wal-Mart when they were trying to blow out all of the summer/patio items. BPA-free, and you may even find one with a silicone sleeve (which doesn’t so much matter when you’re drinking water, but it gives something to grip if you’re a klutz like me).
So what’s so special about a cup like this? It’s all about the straw. That straw is literally the only reason I’m drinking as much water as I am because let’s face it: water is boring. Sure it’s nice when you’ve been walking around in the sun all day, but what about 9:30am in the middle of winter? Not so appealing then. Having a straw allows you to take a little sip here and there, and before you know it – the glass is empty. So you fill it up and start over again. It’s so convenient, and doesn’t really feel like I’m forcing myself to drink like it did when I was using a regular glass. By the time I go to bed, I’ve had about 3 or 4 rounds – and the cup is 24 ounces, which means I’m getting more than the recommended eight 8oz glasses of water per day.
If you really don’t like water, having a cup like this makes it easy to infuse some lemon, cucumber, or even berries into the water for a splash of flavour. Because of the straw, you’re not at risk of gulping down a massive choking hazard when you least expect it, or having something nip at your lips as you’re trying to drink (I absolutely despise that about ice!!)
You can also substitute water for other drinks such as juice, coconut water, and tea, but be cautious of the sugar and caffeine content. Caffeinated products don’t count towards your liquid intake since their diuretic properties make you lose water instead. Fruit juices and flavoured drinks might seem healthy at first but are also loaded with carbs/sugar… which sucks when you’ve got gestational diabetes like myself! (Water and I have had a very close relationship over the past few months…) On that note: if you find you’re constantly craving water for no apparent reason, you may want to get checked for gestational diabetes sooner rather than later as excessive thirst is one of its symptoms.
In any case, water is good for you and has way cooler powers than just keeping the office fern alive. Cheers!