Food and Drink

How I Stay Hydrated in Pregnancy

Before I got pregnant, I was an obsessively hydrated person. For health reasons, I found that I functioned optimally when I get about 100 fl. oz. of plain water daily, not including any other beverages (mostly tea, if we’re being self-aware). But all that changed when I got pregnant. All of a sudden, my first-trimester nausea meant that plain water tasted bad and I had trouble getting down enough. So I thought I’d share some of the things that I found helpful to keep myself hydrated without fighting my body.

My first step was to step back and see how I could be gentler to myself. First, I realized that I wasn’t keeping up my normal level of activity while I was feeling sick, so I made the conscious decision to change my water-tracking app settings from “Active” to “Regular” to account for the fact that some of my lower intake was probably self-regulation because I needed less water. I kept an eye on myself and made sure I didn’t notice any adverse effects, but this has been a pretty solid choice for me. Then, I decided to start counting fluids other than plain water as “water” in my app. I found that I could drink flavored liquids much faster and in greater quantities than plain water, so I started counting all non-caffeinated liquids in my intake. Eventually I started sometimes including a cup of tea in that total, though I would be conservative and call an 8-oz. cup of tea 6 oz. of water in my totals.

The next thing I did sprang from this, as I learned what I did and did not want to drink quickly and in quantity. I learned that a small amount of juice added to a large glass of water was enough to make it taste good enough to drink quickly. I realize this is something that a lot of people do to make themselves drink water, but it had never been an issue for me. I started out with just a little orange juice that I bought with my breakfast sandwich and added about 4 oz. of juice to my 16-oz. jar of water that I keep on my desk throughout the day. Eventually, I switched to other juices, especially Honest Kids drinks, and Lakewood lemonade, both of which are only sweetened with fruit juices. I still like to add an inch of lemonade to the bottom of a glass of water when I need to drink a few more glasses for the day and don’t feel like forcing down plain water.

One final thing I’ve found helps me drink more fluid faster is to drink cold liquids through a straw. I have a glass straw for my jar at work and a set of steel straws at home. I used to only use them when I needed to drink while sheet masking, but lately, I find that drinking through a straw helps me get through a glass of water faster than drinking it without a straw. And since I’m adding acidic juices to flavor my water sometimes, it has the extra benefit of helping keep the acid off my teeth.

So, yes, I am consuming more sugar than I would be if I stuck to plain water and unsweetened tea. But I’m getting more hydration than when I was forcing myself to stick an ideology that my body didn’t want to support. At this point, I have no reason to believe that a little extra sugar is going to be a problem for me, and it’s more important to stay hydrated, especially as I gain weight and my water needs increase (also since it’s getting hot around here and I need more water just from my normal walk to work). So if any other pregnant ladies are having trouble staying hydrated, I’d suggest you consider flavoring your water and even letting yourself count that can of soda as a glass of water every once in a while when you’re having a really hard day. Be easy on yourself and work with your body to keep things good.

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