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Posted on April 11 2014

“Water, water everywhere…but not a drop to drink…”

This may sound familiar if you are at any stage of your pregnancy and seems to be the answer to any pregnancy related question, “Just drink more water.”  And with that you smile and think, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE as stealth music hums in the background.  Well it’s true but there are ways to handle this, especially when you are already at the stage of making trips to your second home in what feels like every 10 minutes.  If you are nursing, this is equally as important, if not more. Of course hydration is a very underrated and overlooked topic with most health issues in anyone, any gender.

The basics:

  • We are comprised mostly of water, our entire being.
  • If you are feeling thirsty, you are already a good portion dehydrated.
  • Dehydration not only causes or worsens health issues, (pregnant or not), but can make common, natural pregnancy issues even worse.
  • You can drink buckets of water but may not be absorbing it. As with nutrition, your body needs to absorb nutrients and water for it to be effective.
  • WHEN you drink is as important as how much.
  • You can start to gradually increase your water intake over a week or 2 weeks time to help adjust better.
  • Water content is high in many things you eat, especially fruit, so you don’t need to drink up a lake of water a day!
  • 2 Quarts of water a day (preferably with fresh lemon juice), seems to be a good baseline for pregnancy. (More if you are experiencing special health concerns).
  • Caffeine and Salt are Major Dehydrators!  If you consume these, not only do you have to replace what they make you lose, but you still need to take in the regular required amount.  For example, if you drink a single cup of coffee, or caffeinated beverage such as coke soda or energy drink (which should be very limited during pregnancy), you need about 2 cups of water to replace the hydration you will lose, plus you’ll still need the regular daily required amount of water. If you eat any boxed, canned, pre-packaged, or prepared food, as well as bottled dressings, chances are you are taking in way too much sodium. Just check the sodium content, too much sodium is not healthy to begin with but if you are at least aware of the amount you are consuming, you’ll know to drink extra water to balance it. Food marketers are tricky, so make sure if you choose a low sodium option, it’s not being compromised by fake, chemical substitutes.  If you eat a healthy diet, but love to sprinkle loads of salt on all those healthy veggies, be sure to use sea salt as you need less of it for the same flavor and it has great minerals in it, and try experimenting with herbs and spices instead, voila!  To give you an idea about sodium intake, 1500 - 3000 mg a day should be the max, and this is a high number... and any given canned or boxed food, (even the natural organic brands), have about 1,000 mg in 1 CUP of a serving!!! YIKES!  Of course working out, sweating, being active causes you to need to drink more, and need to replace some of the salt lost through sweat, and perhaps up the ante a bit, but this can be done with electrolyte water, the natural kind, not Gatorade.
  • Proper hydration prevents constipation, headaches, swelling, fatigue, kidney stones, and a whole laundry list of issues. Once dehydration sets in, things can snowball rapidly and it can set off a whole list of issues, especially during pregnancy.  Also, not enough salt can cause similar symptoms such as fatigue and swelling.

    So, if you are gulping down loads of water right before/after or during a meal, that is the first thing to change.  If you fill your belly with water when eating, it loses its ability to digest properly and can’t absorb the water as well either. So what happens?  You are stuck with a full, sloshy feeling, bloated, tired, and still partially dehydrated.  Try not drinking plain water within ½ to 1 hour before or after eating a meal.  Yes, you can enjoy a small amount of tea, juice, lemon water, etc. with a meal if you are accustomed to washing back your meals, but keep it to about 8 oz, and no plain water.

    Make a plan. Just take a couple minutes one day and measure the amount of liquid that is being held in the containers you usually drink out of. For the most part, many people drink out of the same mugs/glasses/”eco-friendly BPA free” to-go thermoses every day.  Then you’ll know exactly how much your intake is and you’ll know how much to increase it by. You can also buy 2 quart size water bottles and know that by the end of the day you should have finished both of them.  Yay!... simple, easy, done.  Those GIGANTIC bottles may seem intimidating at first so don’t try to be a pro-marathon drinker and chug it back in 15 minutes.  Your kidneys don’t like that anyway. Give yourself a time, (2 hours lets say, and have 1 quart finished).

    Lemon juice is naturally acidic but has an alkaline effect on the body.  That is a GOOD thing, a very good thing.  So adding just a little fresh squeezed, or concentrated lemon juice to your water is so very beneficial to your health, and makes the water more fun to drink.  Try keeping a couple pitchers in the refrigerator with lemon juice already in them, and it’s ready to go.

    Try drinking room temperature liquids, especially your water.  Cold water, or water with ice, has a restricting effect on the body.  Room temperature drinks or warm drinks are way better for the digestive system.  If it’s hot, try just 1 ice cube, but the room temperature liquid will actually have a cooling effect on your body by hydrating you better.

    Coconut water is a WONDERFUL addition to your liquid intake and it has electrolytes which help balance your body and help you absorb the water.  Just be sure you are not drinking lots of the new fad ones with loads of sugar and sweeteners.  You can make fruit smoothies or veggie drinks and use the coconut water as a base.

    And lastly, of course, to get the most out of the nighttime ritual that so many of us have lost contact with, you know the S word, SLEEP… stop drinking about 1 – 2 hours before you enter the shut-eye lullaby zone.  Cheers to you and Happy Wellness you water warriors!

    Brought to you by Jennifer Carman, ND

    A wellness educator with over a decade experience in health, physical fitness, nutrition, and transformational energy healing.  For more happy, healthful information, or if you have questions, please visit Darshan Healings dot com

    These articles are for informational wellness purposes, and are not intended to treat or diagnose.  As always, you should check with your medical health provider with any issue, concern, or questions.  ©Jennifer Carman 2014

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