The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding for as long as possible. As babies grow at different paces, health professionals should advise the mother on the appropriate time when her baby should start receiving complementary foods.
I Need a Drink: 6 Signs of Dehydration During Pregnancy & Why You Should Deal With Them
Hydration is important even during normal times, but when you’re pregnant, it becomes essential. Water, after all, plays many crucial roles in a mother’s health – and the development of the yet-to-be-born child – including:
Delivering on All Fronts
Water absorbs nutrients such as Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C into cells and transports these to the fetus growing inside you. It is one of the key building blocks of the placenta and amniotic sac – both of which are key to healthy delivery.
Cleaning Up After
Water dissolves waste products from both a mother and her fetus, helping to flush them from the kidneys. It also dilutes urine to prevent urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections while alleviating constipation.
Keeping Things Cool
Pregnancy turns the heat on in your body; staying hydrated disperses this heat by causing you to sweat. Water also provides relief from headache and exhaustion while preventing the swelling in the feet and ankles that are a common sight in pregnant women.
Having said this, pregnant women can easily become dehydrated, the main cause of which is morning sickness, where fluids and electrolytes are purged from the system. At the same time, the nausea that comes with this condition also makes it difficult for the body to regain hydration. Other causes include diarrhea due to changes in hormone levels and diet; humidity; air travel; and heat exhaustion.
So how do you know you may be coming dehydrated? Learn to spot these common symptoms!
- You feel thirsty: Even if you don’t feel thirsty, make it a habit to drink at least a glass of water an hour.
- You get dizzy or lightheaded: This happens because blood pressure drops during dehydration. Take note if you fell this when standing, kneeling or bending over.
- Your urine smells bad: Dark yellow urine with a strong odour is a clear sign you need to drink more water!
- You feel dry all over: If your nose, mouth or skin loses elasticity, your lips are chapped, or your tongue is swollen, it’s time to get hydrated.
- You’ve got a headache: Drink some water, quick, before it degenerates into a migraine!
- You constantly feel overheated: Called maternal overheating, this is when your body feels uncomfortable from being unable to properly regulate heat.
Even if you don’t experience any of these symptoms, try to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, more if it’s a hot day, or if you’re exerting yourself. By doing this simple action, you can prevent serious health risks associated with dehydration, including lack of amniotic fluid that could affect the growth of a fetus, increased risk of premature birth, and interruptions in breast milk production.
Finally, bear in mind that water isn’t the only way to hydrate; you can also consume milk, fruits and vegetables (and their juices), and even soup, so vary your intake if you think you might get bored of just clean, plain water. Plus, you can also include two glasses of Nestlé Mom & Me as part of your hydration routine; not only will it contribute to your fluid intake, but it provides you and your little one with 2 types of probiotics, 16 vitamins and minerals as well.
So go on, keep healthy and drink up!