Here are ten reasons why drinking water during pregnancy is important.
- Baby’s Growth: According to the late F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., (Dr. B), a noted researcher in the area of hydration, water is required for the growth of the infant. Starting with the very first cell – and as each cell multiplies – the cells have to be filled with over 75% water to function properly. He asserts that infants growth may be affected by an average of 1 inch or more taller in the womb if the mother properly hydrates.
- Low Levels of Amniotic Fluids: According to the American Pregnancy Association, dehydration is a cause of low amniotic fluid levels. Amniotic fluid is needed by the baby for the development of muscles, limbs, lungs and the digestive system. In the early stages of pregnancy, low amniotic fluids can cause birth defects and even miscarraige. During the second half of pregnancy, labor complications such as cord compression and pre-term birth can occur if low amiotic fluid levels occur.
- Overheating: Overheating is of particular concern during pregnancy, because the mother’s body is not able to rid itself of heat as easily. If her temperature increases to 102 degrees or higher, her baby can experience overheating as well. This can lead to neural tube defects during early pregnancy. Drinking water is one way to regulate the body’s temperature – helping to cool the body as needed by dissipating excess heat through sweat.
- Bladder Infections: Drinking plenty of water is one of the ways to prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s), which are common during pregnancy. UTI’s not only cause painful symptoms to the mother. If left untreated, the UTI can lead to kidney infection, which can put the baby at risk as well. Kidney infections can irritate the uterus, which may cause early labor and low birth weight. If you do get a UTI, your doctor will likely recommend you drink a lot of water to help flush the germs from your urine.
- Morning Sickness: There are differing theories as to the cause of morning sickness. According to Dr. B., morning sickness is the unborn baby’s only way of letting the mother know that it’s not getting enough water. A vicious cycle can result, if underhydrating causes the nauscious effects associated with morning sickness, which in turn causes further loss of fluids when vomiting. This that can lead to more severe dehydration and malnutrition as well.
- Swelling and Water Retention: Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy caused by the additional blood and fluid needed by the developing baby. However puffy eyes, swollen ankles and abnormal accumulations of water can signal dehydration. Drinking plenty of water is one way to manage the swelling, as it helps to prevent against dehydration, flush the body, and reduce water retention.
- Constipation: Constipation affects approximately half of all women at some point during their pregnancy, causing abdominal pain or discomfort, difficult and infrequent bowel movements, and the passage of hard stools. Drinking plenty of fluids, in combination with a high fiber diet, helps your body to move food through your intestinal track and flush out toxins and waste.
- Dry Skin: Some expecting moms can experience particularly dry, itchy skin during pregnancy. Drinking water can help maintain skin moisture and is the vehicle for delivering essential nutrients to the skin cells.
- Fatigue: If you aren’t drinking enough water, you’re probably tired throughout the day. Dehydration causes less blood flow to the organs, which can slow down the brain — and you along with it. Also, when enough fluids aren’t consumed, your blood becomes slightly thicker. This causes your heart to pump harder, using energy to move the blood throught the veins. Even mild dehydration can make you tired.
- Nutrition: A healthy pregnancy diet will promote the baby’s growth and development. Water increases the rate of absorption of essential substances in food, making minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Also, a new mother needs proper hydration to produce a sufficient amount of breast milk for her baby.
According to Dr. Amy Tuteur, maternal dehydration is one of the most common, treatable conditions associated with pre-term labor. Even mild dehydration can cause contractions in pregnant women. Given the multiple risks dehydration can bring to the mother and baby, the importance of drinking sufficient water throughout the day, in accordance with your medical practioners advise, can not be overstated.
Take advantage of this plentiful resource while carrying your precious baby – drink water!
- Premature Labor, Ask Dr. Amy
- Low Amniotic Fluid Levels, American Pregnancy Association
- What is the Connection between Dehydration and Fatigue? wiseGEEK.com
- Swelling During Pregnancy, American Pregnancy Association
- Urinary Tract Infection During Pregnancy, American Pregnancy Association
- Pregnancy and Constipation, American Pregnancy Association
- The Effects of Dehydration in Pregnant Women on the Baby, Livestrong.com
- Your Body’s many Cries for Water, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj
- You’re not Sick, You’re Thirsty, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj
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