Whether you are pregnant or not, it is important to stay hydrated. During pregnancy, though, your body changes drastically. The gradual weight gain, you’ll notice, is mainly due to increased body water that’s going straight towards the building of the amniotic sac, expansion of blood volume, placenta, and by the end, over 80 per cent of the fetus is made up of water.
While it is tempting to let this fall to the wayside, many medical experts advise to balance hydration with nutrition, sleep and well…successfully building a human being. This for the sake of mental and physical healing after birth, skincare after baby, losing “baby weight” in the coming months, not to mention upkeep of your milk supply if you have opted to breastfeed. Here are some ways to prepare to stay hydrated after baby.
Invest in a smart hydration bottle
Find a bottle with smart technology that will remind you to drink up. If you can’t justify the cost, just think that this investment will take you way passed you child-rearing years and help you to plan for a lifelong habit. A more affordable alternative is to buy a smart hydration reminder bottle attachment, which is over half the price and can stick to any receptacle you can drink out of (plastic, glass, metal,etc.).
Set a timer before you go into labour
If you know that you will not go the smart hydration route, find a regular bottle, and set a timer before you go into labour that will go off every hour to remind you to take a sip. To avoid dehydration, and the side effects that come with it (headaches, moodiness, chapped skin, and fatigue) try something experts call “drinking to thirst” – the simple idea that you drink until you are not thirsty anymore. You do not want to get to the point of craving water, which means that your body is already depleted of fluids.
Find out what drinks works for you
If you know that plain water is not your favourite thing, that probably will not change after baby. Try adding a slice of lemon to your water (for added vitamin C). Also experiment with coconut water (low calories and rich in potassium), aloe water (for added beauty benefits), cucumber water, beetroot juice, or chia water*, which are incredibly hydrating.
Write down your favourite smoothie recipe
Smoothies are loaded with water, and are a great way to ensure that you are getting a serving of fruits and veg. If you do not already have one, invest in a blender, play around, and find your favourite recipes during your pregnancy. Add them to your postpartum plan so that anyone can help throw them together. Note that vegetable juices are more hydrating than fruit juices and it’s better to stick to hydrating veggies such as cucumbers and lettuce.
If breastfeeding, prepare to drink when baby drinks
How ever you plan to stay hydrated, keep in mind to drink when baby drinks. Soon after starting to nurse, you will notice that you feel thirsty more often. This is triggered by oxytocin, a hormone released during breastfeeding, which naturally affects your thirst cues to encourage you to drink enough water to hydrate yourself and make breast milk. Since newborns breastfeed about 8 to 12 times a day, having a glass of water before or after every feeding is a good way to get your daily quota without having to think about it.
*While the The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider chia seeds as safe to consume while breastfeeding. It’s important to talk to a lactation consultant and/or nutritionist before making any changes to your diet.