Internationally WORLD WATER DAY is celebrated annually on 22nd MARCH.
The aim of this article is to raise awareness regarding the role of water in health maintainance. The stress is laid on importance of water in women’s health .
An adult’s body weight is comprised of between 50-70% water .Water is a major component of our blood, carrying essential nutrients to cells and flushing away harmful waste products. It also helps our bodies to absorb essential nutrients from food and speeds up the rate at which glucose is absorbed thereby boosting our energy levels. It aids digestion and helps to restore and revitalise our bodies.
Benefits of WATER in PREGNANCY
Water is an important part of pregnancy.
Drinking water during pregnancy is twice as important and critical to the health of the mother and the fetus. Water is responsible for carrying oxygen and acts as the body’s transportation system carrying nutrients to our cells, tissues and organs and thus transports nutrients through the blood to the baby. Staying hydrated ensures that essential nutrients are being transported to meet the developmental needs of the growing baby.
1. WATER DELIVERS ESSENTIALS TO THE FETUS
Water helps the body absorb essential nutrients into the cells and transports vitamins, minerals and hormones to the blood cells. It’s those nutrient-rich blood cells that reach the placenta and ultimately the baby — all with the help of water (H2O) through the blood
2. RECOMMENDED DAILY WATER INTAKE IS HIGHER DURING PREGNANCY
During pregnancy you will need to drink about three litres (eight to 12 glasses) of fluid every day. For every hour of light exercise you do, add another glass of water. During the summer, you will need to drink even more to make up for the fluid you lose because of perspiration. The average adult loses about two litres of fluid a day – even more in hot weather, during exercise or through pregnancy. It is vital that these fluids are replenished regularly.
3. WATER CAN HELP PREVENT URINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI), CONSTIPATION AND HEMORRHOIDS
Water which dissolves the waste products and helps flush them from the kidneys. Your baby in the womb is constantly growing and developing, and pressure on the bladder increases. As a result, some urine remains in the bladder even though you feel you’ve emptied it. As urine in the bladder can cause bacteria, you should empty it more often, which can only happen when you drink a lot of water. Drinking enough water also keeps the urine diluted, which not only keeps things flowing but also keeps UTIs away. Water also helps prevent constipation which many women suffer from during pregnancy when their bowel movements get sluggish due to physical changes, iron supplements, and hormonal changes.
4. WATER CAN HELP WITH FATIGUE, HEADACHES, SWELLING AND OVERHEATING
One of the first symptoms of dehydration is exhaustion. Dehydration—a main contributor to the headaches, cramping and dizziness. It also helps the body get rid of excess sodium among other things, minimizing swelling particularly swollen feet or ankles . Drinking water helps flush out the sodium, thereby minimizing the swelling. Hydration becomes especially important during the third trimester because dehydration can trigger contractions that can lead to preterm labor.
5. WATER MAKES SKIN SUPPLE
Pregnancy hormones can wreak havoc on one’s face. What was once smooth can now be riddled with pimples. It’s an age old beauty industry truth that drinking water helps maintain a clear complexion and a healthy looking skin.
6. WATER DURING LACTATION
Water is also a key component of breast milk, so it’s essential for good lactation. If mother is dehydrated it can affect the quality and the quantity of milk. Its advisable to drink a glass of water after each feed.
WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR DAILY INTAKE OF WATER:
- Drink a glass of water when you get up in the morning instead of decaffeinated tea or decaffeinated coffee (hot water with fresh lemon is a wonderful natural cleanser)
- Every time you go to the toilet take a detour to the kitchen and drink eight mouthfuls of water to replace the lost fluid
- Have water (four or five mouthfuls) just before going to sleep
- Never get thirsty. Thirst is a symptom of dehydration so try to not deprive your body for it to reach this stage
- Improve fluid intake by eating watery fruit and vegetables, such as watermelon and cucumber, and include stews, soups and juices in your diet.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks and high sugar drinks as these can actually worsen dehydration
- Try and drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids, such as tender coconut water, fresh lime water (nimbu pani), lassi, buttermilk (chhaach), milk shakes, homemade jal jeera and aam panna.
- Juices can count as part of your fluid intake, but remember they can also contain a lot of extra calories. Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, colas and teas shouldn’t be counted as part of fluid intake because they’re diuretics. Diuretics make you urinate more so you actually lose water.
- The best way to tell if you are dehydrated is to check the colour of your urine. It should be pale or straw-coloured. If it is dark then you need to drink more water.
Dr. Precella T Thomas
MBBS, DGO, DNB, FMAS, Fellowship in ART
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Laparoscopic Surgeon & Infertility Specialist.