Hydration is not optional!
Water: the only essential drink
The human body is 65% water. So water is the main component of the body’s cells and without it, there is no life. It nourishes, it provides essential mineral salts and trace elements that remove toxins. And as it is constantly being eliminated from the body (through perspiration, faeces, breath), it must be replenished. All the more so during pregnancy as the hormonal changes stimulate the activity of the exocrine (sweat) glands.
For you: Proper hydration benefits your entire body.
As the blood is more fluid, the heart can more easily pump it to the organs and muscles to nourish and oxygenate them... which considerably limits the risk of cramping, strains and vein problems! Being well hydrated also enables you to fight episodes of urine infections, which are never desirable during pregnancy. In addition, your skin also needs water to counterbalance the flood of hormones that makes it more delicate and more easily prone to itching, tightness, stretch marks and sagging skin.
For your baby: How hydrated you are has an impact on the volume of amniotic fluid, which reaches approximately 1 litre at term.
And when the quantity of this liquid is sufficient and of good quality, it benefits the in-utero development and effectively carries out its role providing a protective barrier.
Summer and winter, don’t wait till you feel thirsty to drink
Once the feeling of thirst appears, the process of dehydration has already begun. 1% dehydration = 1litre of water lost = 10% of organic performance less. Drink regularly throughout the day, taking sips, to easily achieve the recommended amount of water of 1.5 to 2 litres per day, or even more if medically advised to do so. And do this summer and winter: when it is cold, we also lose water through perspiration as well as through breathing (when you can see your breath, what you are actually seeing is water).
Overall and through perspiration alone, water loss is 500ml/hour in winter and 800ml/hour when the temperature reaches 20°C!
Dehydration appears quickly, remember to check how clear your urine is: this is the yardstick for checking how good your hydric reserve is.
Water, but which water?
It is clearly essential to choose good quality water. Tap water is extremely thoroughly monitored, but is composition varies from one region to another, better to test the nitrate content before drinking it. And ask your doctor for advice. In any event, always let it run for a few minutes before drinking it. Or, to be on the safe side, drink bottled water. Preferably, still (the bubbles can cause bloating) and weakly mineralized, low sodium. But if your diet does not adequately cover requirements, your doctor may recommend water with a high calcium and magnesium content.
In any event, ensure that no one drinks directly from your bottle and once it is opened, drink it in the same day to avoid any bacterial risk.
Not too cold, please
Drinking well-chilled drinks when it is hot is tempting. But it’s a mistake. When your body’s internal temperature is 37.5°C, the arrival of ice-cold water places needless demands on the body, which then has to use extra calories to warm it up again before absorbing it. Without taking into account the fact that water that is too cold gives such a sensation of rehydration but does not refresh sufficiently. Finally, it also entails the risk of gastro-intestinal pain. So what is the correct temperature for water? 18°C.
Eating is also drinking...
Hydration also comes from food: fruit and vegetables are on average 90% water. As a rule of thumb, 500g of vegetables and 300g of fruit per day is equal to swallowing half a litre of water. Milky drinks and dairy products made up of 50 to 80% water also provide good additional hydration. In conclusion, a correctly selected diet can help you to compensate for a lack of hydration, but under no circumstances can it replace it! If water on its own makes you grimace, opt for herbal teas or infusions.