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Keep Up Fluids

During pregnancy and lactation you'll need to drink 8-12 eight ounce glasses of liquids every day. Water is essential to life providing a route of transmission for nutrients and cells, balancing acids, holding salts, and cushioning the body's cells and organs. Water contributes 55-65% of the adult body weight. During pregnancy and lactation, your body's water compartments grow substantially. The fetus also requires a rich fluid supply to grow, develop and live comfortably in its prenatal environment.

Water needs can very substantially from person-to-person and environment-to-environment. Pregnancy and lactation, exercise, hot environmental temperatures, dry climates and high fiber diets all increase needs. Inadequate water consumption can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, and decreased mental alertness in pregnant women. To the fetus it can mean inadequate nutrient transport, poor waste product removal, an excessively warm maternal environment and insufficient fluid in its amniotic sac. All these effects of dehydration jeopardize fetal growth and development, and in some women can bring about preterm labor and delivery.

Avoiding Dehydration
National food surveys indicate that many of us are walking around in a mild state of dehydration most of the time. Even a mild degree of dehydration can cause physical symptoms. These include sluggishness, fatigue, headache, dry lips, mouth and skin, constipation, nausea, dark-colored urine or infrequent urination. More severe dehydration brings on dizziness, skin that's flushed and clammy, dry lips and tongue and elevated temperature. People naturally think of dehydration during the summer months, when it's warm and we tend to sweat a lot. It's true that water needs pick up during the heat. But there's another time adequate hydration is of added concern. That's winter, when we're stuck indoors in dry, overheated homes and office buildings. Summer and winter are both peak times for higher consciousness about extra fluid.

How To Drink More Water
  • Get into the habit of drinking more water, in addition to your usual beverages. Drink a glass when you wake up, one at each meal, and one before bedtime. Don't drink too much too close to bed because you may need to use the bathroom while you're asleep.
  • If you are at home during the day, fill a container each morning with your water for the day. Use it to drink, make juice or decaffeinated tea. When your container is empty, you have met your goal for the day.
  • Become aware of how much fluid your glasses, water bottle or mugs hold. Use larger sizes, such as 10 or 12 ounce glasses, so you can drink more at each sitting.
  • If you work at a desk, keep a water pitcher or gallon jug nearby. Drink often! Or get up frequently to fill your glass from the water cooler down the hall. It will give you a chance to stretch your legs and keep you hydrated, too.
  • While at work, drink one glass of water every hour on the hour. When the work day is done, your water quota is met.
  • Some people have luck by keeping single serving-sized bottled water in their desk or car. Drink two full glasses at each meal, one before and one after.
  • When dining out, down a glass of water before you leave for the restaurant. Ask the waitstaff for water all around if the restaurant doesn't routinely serve water to its guests.
  • Down a glass of water when you have a junk food craving. You'll feel full quickly, avoid empty calories and buy time until the immediate craving passes. Then decide if you need a healthy bit of food.
  • Carry a small, refillable water bottle with you and drink during downtime: in the car, on the commuter train, or waiting in line.

Soups, juices, and milk can help you meet your fluid needs. Be wary of using soda pop to meet your fluid needs as they are often low in nutrients, high in calories, and may contain caffeine that may affect fetal growth and development.

Not all exercises or diets are suitable for everyone. Before you begin this program, you should have permission from your doctor to participate in vigorous exercise and change of diet. If you feel discomfort or pain when you exercise, do not continue. The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers, participants and distributors of this site disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercise and advice provided here.

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