a glass of clear water held high in the sunlight

The Importance of Drinking Water

As the warm weather approaches (at last!), we are again reminded of the importance of hydrating our bodies. The rule of thumb for the average female body is eight 8oz glasses of water a day; this comes out to 64oz, or half a gallon. When you’re growing a baby, however, it’s important to add an extra 8oz of fluid per hour of light activity. Milk, juice, and decaffeinated beverages all count toward your fluid intake, but don’t drink too much – water is always best. Why is water so important?

Symptoms of Dehydration.

Water keeps us hydrated. When the body is hydrated, is functions at its optimum level. We are able to keep cool when the weather gets hot and our body processes food more efficiently. Our bodies are 60% water. Look out for some of these symptoms when you’re dehydrated: tiredness, headache, dry lips/mouth, and passing small amounts of dark colored urine.

What’s Happening Inside?

One of the side effects of being dehydrated is a thickening of the blood. This makes it more difficult for the blood to pass through the placenta to your baby. Thickening of the blood can also lead to preeclampsia, which is the bane of pregnant women. This condition, characterized by high blood pressure and fluid retention during pregnancy, can be alleviated (to a certain degree) by drinking plenty of water.

If you are dehydrated a lot in the first trimester of your pregnancy, there is a possibility that you can develop low amniotic fluid. Decreased amniotic fluid can lead to pregnancy complications and birth defects. What about constipation? Drinking plenty of water can also help move food through the bowels, allowing stool to move more freely. Feeling fatigued? Have a glass of water. It will wake up your body and help it remove toxins from your muscles. Drinking plenty of water also helps your body move excess fluid from your lower extremities (“edema”).

So many benefits. Go drink a glass of water, and read our next entry: The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga !

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