The recommendations for water consumption vary, but pretty much everyone agrees that we need to drink more water than we do. One common recommendation is 8 8oz glasses of water per day (that's 64oz, or a half-gallon). Since every body is a different size though, I find that a better guideline is to drink 1 oz of water for every 2 lbs of body weight. 100 lbs = 50 oz, 150 lbs = 75oz...you can do the math for you. ☺
Being sufficiently hydrated helps metabolism. It improves skin clarity and elasticity, and tends to help control overeating (many people do not know how to differentiate between hunger and thirst, so they eat when they should drink...if you learn to drink more water, you'll probably eat less, and will very likely lose some extra weight). You will probably get less sick less often, and recover sooner.
Dehydration in pregnancy increases the likely hood of tearing at delivery (remember that skin elasticity part?), and slower healing afterward. It may increase the likelihood of stretchmarks (though that is mostly genetic). It exacerbates nausea, and can lead to weak contractions, long labors, and maternal exhaustion in labor. Along with poor diet, it can increase the risk of gestational diabetes. And remember all that stuff I mentioned before about how your blood volume increases by 50% during pregnancy? Guess what, you need water for that too.
SO, assuming that you are now convinced of the need for more water in your daily regimen, here is a list of ideas that can help you increase your water intake:
- Drink a glass of water before every meal. This can help those wanting to control portion size, but it's also a good way to get in some extra water every day. (A commenter noted that drinking with meals is actually bad if you have problems with heartburn--so try drinking 30 min before the meal, or saving a little room and drinking afterwards.)
- Rather than just rinsing, drink a glass of water when you brush your teeth.
- Carry a water bottle around with you at work/school. Take a drink every time you remember it. Make a goal to empty a certain size bottle each day...work up to bigger/more bottles until you are drinking the amount you should be.
- Keep a cup in the bathroom. Every time you empty your bladder, drink a glass of water. (This has the added benefit of being cyclical, as the extra drinking will have you making extra potty trips, and thus drinking all the more...but don't worry, the extra potty trips will ease off within a week or two as your body gets used to finally having enough water in it.)
- Use a big cup! The average person will drain their glass, so use a bigger one for good liquids (like water) and a smaller one for other drinks (like soda or juice).
- Stop drinking other things. When you are thirsty, regardless of what you think you want to drink, get a glass of water first, or instead. (I actually find that I no longer crave milk, and I usually find fruit juices too sweet. I can handle about two swallows of soda pop. When I want a drink of something, I almost always drink water.)
- Try establishing a water-drinking habit by going for a week with no other drinks--just water.
- Do you have other tips? Leave them in the comments and I'll add them to the list!
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