10 Hydration Facts & Myths Every Mother Should Know About
From the beginning and onward, being a mom entails a lot of things. Many of us recognize pregnancy as the beginning of motherhood, and it’s during that phase of motherhood where your health becomes exceedingly important.
But pregnancy isn’t the only time that a mother should focus on her health.
One of the most important things a mother should do before, during, and after her pregnancy is staying hydrated. Learning basic hydration facts can help you accomplish this, and that’s exactly what you’ll do by continuing to read below.
Why Is Hydration Important Before, During, and After Pregnancy?
Hydration is a critical component of everyday health before, during, and after pregnancy. In general, hydration is necessary for allowing the body to carry out normal functions.
A lack of hydration during any phase of life, pregnant or otherwise, can lead to dehydration.
When someone becomes dehydrated, their body can experience symptoms such as:
- Dehydration Headache
- Dark-colored urine
During pregnancy, a woman’s body is hard at work. She is developing more blood and new tissue, transporting more nutrients, increasing digestive activity, and producing amniotic fluid.
Needless to say, a pregnant woman needs to hydrate more than the average individual.
Staying hydrated is vital during pregnancy for the reasons listed above, but hydrating can also help a pregnant woman in other ways:
- Improve digestion
- Decrease hemorrhoids
- Increase energy
- Decrease risk of preterm labor/birth
- Reduce swelling
Not only is hydration important during pregnancy, but it’s also essential during the labor process.
Birthing a baby takes a lot of hard work and puts a heavy burden on a woman’s body. Just as you would drink more water during a workout, so should you remain hydrated during labor.
This typically happens through an IV.
Following birth, a woman’s body is in recovery mode, so it’s always wise to put a bigger emphasis on staying hydrated to support the healing process.
Likewise, if you’re breastfeeding, your body will naturally crave more fluids (as well as food) as it works to produce milk for your baby. Note that the amount of water you drink does not directly influence how much milk you produce, and every woman is different!
Hydration Facts and Myths that Every Mother Should Be Aware Of
We all know that it’s generally good to drink water and that staying hydrated is essential, but are we really aware of all the facts about drinking water out there? And just as there are many drinking water facts, there are also common drinking water myths.
How can anyone know the difference?
As a mother, it’s critical that both you and your child stay properly hydrated. For all the correct information, check out these health facts about water below.
Myth: You Can Only Hydrate Through Water
Throughout our lives, we are continually encouraged to drink water. And while water is essential to human life, it’s a myth that it is the only thing that can or will hydrate you.
For the most part, any liquid you consume counts towards your daily water intake. So, this includes things like juice, milk, sports drinks, coffee, and tea.
Even various foods can help you hydrate, such as:
Most fruits and vegetables have a significant percentage of water in them and can help you stay hydrated. Other foods like yogurt, soup, and smoothies can also provide you with ample hydration.
Fact: When You Drink Matters As Much As How Much
Far too often, we focus on how much we need to hydrate rather than the timing of our hydration. Generally, it’s fine to sip on a water bottle throughout the day, but there are a few different times when hydrating can make a big difference.
When You Wake Up
Before you jump into the glorious, life-giving juice that is coffee in the morning, pour yourself a glass or two of water.
Consider the fact that you’ve just slept for several hours. During that time, your body didn’t receive any hydration at all. First thing in the morning is the perfect way to rehydrate for the day.
A fun fact about drinking water first thing in the morning is that it can jumpstart your metabolism, help flush out toxins, and properly replenish your organs.
30 Minutes Before a Meal
Try drinking a glass of water about a half-hour before each meal. Doing so can help you feel more satisfied while eating, meaning you will end up eating the proper amount, rather than overeating.
It can also help move digestion along at a smoother and healthier rate, as the water helps to activate your stomach and prepare it for breaking down food.
During pregnancy, it is also helpful to drink fluids along with your meal to optimize digestion. While this may not be possible for everyone, with symptoms like nausea making it difficult to consume large amounts in one sitting, it does help to improve digestion while pregnant.
1 Hour After Eating
About an hour after you’ve eaten, your stomach has had plenty of time to start the digestive process. Drinking water now will help continue the process while also transporting all those nutrients to other parts of your body.
1 Hour Before Bed
We’re coming full circle here now. Remember up top when we mentioned you go several hours throughout the night without hydrating? Drinking water about an hour before bed also helps make up for that lost hydration.
Plus, drinking water can help your body temperature drop, enhancing sleepiness and improving overall sleep.
Myth: You Only Need 8 Glasses of Water Per Day
For a long time, hydration statistics stated that every person should drink 8, 8 ounce glasses per day.
But more modern medicine has deemed that, generally, men should drink about 15 cups of fluids per day, while women should have around 11 cups of fluids per day.
As for pregnant women, the ACOG recommends that you drink anywhere from 8 to 12 cups of water per day. You can use our hydration chart for reference.
If you do a quick search on your own, you will quickly see that the recommendations vary considerably from expert to expert. That being said, there are a few different things you should keep in mind concerning your fluid intake.
First, as we mentioned in our first myth, hydration comes from a wide range of sources. About 20 percent of our daily intake of fluid comes from food, so if you fall short on your water goal for the day, chances are your meals made up for it.
The second thing to remember is that everyone is different. Whether you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, an active athlete, or live in a hot climate, your situation will never be the same as the person next to you.
Depending on your health, surroundings, and activities, you may need to increase your water intake.
And third, for most healthy people, it’s generally okay to drink whether you’re thirsty or not. It’s great to be proactive with your hydration efforts. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor if you’re concerned about hydration.
Fact: The Color of Your Urine Can Be an Indicator of Hydration Status
Whether you’re pregnant or simply concerned about your child’s hydration levels, the truth of the matter is you can usually tell if there’s an issue by the color of your urine.
So long as your kidneys are in tip-top shape, you can expect your urine to show hydration by its tone of yellow.
Healthy urine should range from pale yellow to bright yellow. As long as you’re in this range, you’re doing alright. If you're leaning more towards bright yellow consistently, you may want to increase your hydration efforts.
Anything darker than bright yellow is a red flag. Dark yellow urine means that you’re dehydrated. If your urine is extremely dark or even brown, it could mean that there is blood in your urine. In this case, it’s time to contact your doctor.
Myth: There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Water
While staying hydrated is critical to our health, there is such a thing as drinking too much water. Overhydration can be just as dangerous as dehydration.
When you drink too much water, the sodium in your blood becomes diluted. Sodium is critical (you may have heard of electrolytes before) as it balances our fluids in and out of our cells.
Too little sodium leads to water intoxication, which causes the cells in the body to swell.
Symptoms of water intoxication are very similar to dehydration:
It’s important to drink consistently throughout the day, rather than drinking an excess at any one given time.
Fact: Staying Hydrated Becomes Even More Important When Sick
When someone is fighting off an illness, particularly vomiting or diarrhea, hydration becomes exceptionally critical.
A sick body is working overtime to fight off bacteria and infection, so hydration is a must already. But when someone is vomiting or having diarrhea, more fluids may be leaving the body than entering.
It’s challenging to keep children hydrated while they’re sick. As a mom, it’s essential to keep a close eye on your sick child for signs of dehydration. You should closely monitor their fluid intake and encourage them to take small sips frequently.
Adding flavors to water, offering sports drinks, and trying fruit smoothies may help your child drink more if they become tired of drinking water.
The same goes for pregnant women who lose hydration due to morning sickness.
Myth: Caffeine Dehydrates You
For a very long time, people strongly believed that drinking too much caffeine - i.e., coffee, tea, soda, etc. - dehydrated your body.
Today, we know that this simply isn’t true. Drinking things like tea and coffee can still add hydration to your body, while avoiding excess levels of caffeine. Pregnant women tend to avoid these drinks and should make sure to make up for it with other fluids.
The reason people believed this for so long is that caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases the production of urine. The idea is that coffee and the likes would make you urinate more often, leading to faster dehydration.
The truth is, caffeine is a very mild diuretic. While it may make you have to go to the bathroom a little quicker, its effects are not nearly strong enough to dehydrate you.
Fact: Electrolytes Help You Hydrate Faster
You’ve probably heard the word “electrolytes” before. Many sports drinks add these minerals to their drinks to help you hydrate better and faster.
The three main electrolytes are:
And the truth about electrolytes is that they’re not just some gimmick for brands to sell drinks; they do work.
Electrolytes help keep your body in shape by balancing fluids, supporting healthy blood pressure, and regulating systems. You can quickly lose electrolytes through sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea, which is why these drinks target athletes and sick people.
It’s the sodium and potassium in these electrolyte drinks that are important in rehydration. Sodium helps retain fluids, so it’s highly beneficial when added to drinks. Potassium works with sodium to help maintain water balance.
The only caution here is to check out the labels on various sports drinks and other electrolyte fluids. Many of them contain a lot of added sugar, which isn’t good for you. But there are also brands of water that add electrolytes to their bottles as well.
Hydration is one of the easiest ways that we can keep our bodies thriving every day. With these health facts about water debunked and sorted out, we can all be a little healthier.
Keep these hydration fun facts in mind in your day-to-day life to continue an active and healthy lifestyle for your and your family. Use our hydration chart and tracker to check on your own progress. Water and hydration facts can make a big difference, and learning to stay consistent is important.