Summer is here in Vegas and along with it – the dry hot heat! It’s important to stay hydrated. Adults are advised to drink six 8-oz glasses of water each day. During pregnancy, this number rises to eight to ten 8-oz glasses of water per day (approximately 2.5 L of water every day). This is because water helps your baby gain nutrients and grow. It also helps with digestion and removal of extra waste produced by the fetus. In addition to water, fruit juices, soft drinks, milk, tea, and coffee also count towards total fluid intake. Care should be taken to limit intake of caffeinated drinks, however, especially in pregnancy. Caffeine can lead to dehydration due to increased urination. Children can also really suffer in the heat and keeping them hydrated is important. Pique their interest with straws and ice. Kids love playing with ice!
Maternity Minute: Beat the Heat This Summer
If you don’t like drinking plain water, spritz it up with some fruit, cucumber, or mint to make it more palatable. Not drinking enough water can actually lead to fluid retention as your body tries to hang on to its water sources. This can lead to swelling in the legs, hands, and face. Thus, drinking water avoids fluid retention. Staying hydrated also avoids other pregnancy complications such as headaches, constipation, hemorrhoids, bladder infections, nausea, skin problems, Braxton hicks contractions, and preterm labor. Keeping track of your water intake is easy. Fill a 2.5 L jug with water at the start of the day and carry it with you throughout the day. It will serve as a visual reminder of your daily goal. If you find you fall short of the 2.5 L intake recommendation, make a concentrated effort to drink more.
You should increase your fluid intake by one 8-oz glass for each hour of exercise you do, even if it is just light exercise such as swimming or walking. Also increase your fluid intake on hot days as increased perspiration can lead to dehydration.
Water in Your Diet
Other ways to increase your water intake are through the diet. Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce provide a good amount of water, as do other vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes. Watermelon and cantaloupe as well as strawberries and oranges also contain a good amount of water. Smoothies are a great way to get both your veggies and fruits in and increase your water intake. You can also add a protein, such as yogurt. I recommend 1 part greens, 1 part liquid (i.e. almond milk), 1.5 parts fruit. Blend together with a little ice. You can also add things like flaxseeds or nut butters. Use Doctor Stockwell’s powdered prenatal vitamin drink mix to complete your daily recommended vitamin needs.
Who doesn’t love a good popsicle on a hot summer day? You can make your own at home with blended fruit and juice in the ice tray. Lastly, soups are high in water content, particularly broths. Just make sure to keep an eye on the sodium content! In contrast, processed snack foods, such as chips, crackers, and baked goods, have very little water content.
Watch for Dehydration
Signs of dehydration include hot flashes, nausea, fatigue, lightheadedness, darker urine, constipation, headache, thirst, dry throat and mouth. If you are showing these symptoms, try to rehydrate yourself by drinking extra water. Signs of extreme dehydration include no urination x 8 hours, quick or faint heartbeat, and blood in the stool. If you are showing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
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Written by Erica Stockwell, DO MBA FACOG