Your diet while pregnant directly affects the development of your baby. Vitamins and minerals fuel the division of cells and the creation of specific organs. The most important thing you can put into your body throughout your entire pregnancy, however, is water. Consider these three roles of water and how they can improve your pregnancy for you and your baby.
Role #1: Reducing Bloat and Edema
Your body will begin retaining water early in your pregnancy. Your body holds onto water in order to ensure there’s enough to carry nutrients to you and the baby and aid in cell division.
In the beginning of your pregnancy, you’ll experience what’s called a “blump.” Your stomach will get bigger, but it won’t be because your uterus has expanded. It will be because your body has retained water and it’s causing your abdomen to distend slightly, causing a bloated bump. As your pregnancy progresses, your extremities will begin to swell due to the effects of gravity. Your feet, ankles, and fingers will likely be much larger.
You can help keep a lot of the water retention at bay by drinking plenty of water each day. The more you introduce fresh water into your body, the less it will need to hold onto water to reuse later. Your kidneys and liver can reduce their workload and cycle through the excess water more efficiently, flushing it from the body and reducing your swelling.
Role #2: Easing Constipation
Hormone changes, changes in diet, and shifting positions for the intestines all lead to constipation throughout pregnancy. You’ll want to keep things moving as much as possible to avoid discomfort, fissures, and hemorrhoids.
Drinking water helps move the contents of your intestines by keeping them soft. If there isn’t enough water in your body to help carry out cell processes, your body will take it from the contents of the large intestine. This creates hard, pebbly bowel movements that have trouble moving through the intestine and out of your body.
If you notice a change in your bowel movements, it’s time to up you water intake. Your body will be better able to push the contents of the intestines and supply water for the rest of the body.
Role #3: Maintaining Amniotic Fluid Levels
One of the most common side effects of pregnancy is increased urine output. This is because your body is constantly cycling through amniotic fluid and flushing out the old fluid.
The cycle of amniotic fluid is essential to fetal health. Your baby starts working on his or her swallowing reflex at around 20 weeks of gestation. He or she swallows the fluid throughout the day, building up in volume throughout the pregnancy. The fluid then passes through his or her digestive system and is urinated back out into the amniotic sac. Your body then filters the fluid through your kidneys.
Because this cycle is continually happening, it’s essential for your body to keep up with providing new fluid for the baby. Your water intake directly affects the amount of fluid that can enter the amniotic sac, providing fresh fluid continually for your baby.
Your role during pregnancy is to provide a safe environment for your fetus, and your diet is your first line of defense in ensuring you’re doing that. The foods and drinks you put into your body have a profound effect on your baby’s ability to develop properly. Make sure you’re drinking enough water to help keep your body and your baby’s body healthy throughout your pregnancy. Keeping yourself hydrated keeps your body from swelling, your bowel movements regular, and your baby supplied with plenty of amniotic fluid in the womb. Make sure to see your midwife from places like http://www.whallc.com for any help or suggestions along the way.