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I’ve never been good about drinking my daily allotment of water, so when I became pregnant staying properly hydrated became my nemesis. It’s like I was Batman and water was The Joker – I knew we could be unstoppable if we combined our powers for good, but I couldn’t put my past experiences behind me to move forward together in harmony.
And here I am, almost 36 weeks into this journey and I’m still trying every trick I can think of to help me drink more. I’m getting better but it’s still not easy.
And I must confess, some days I feel like I’m drowning.
Pre-pregnancy I would to adhere to the old adage of eight, 8 oz. glasses of water each day at a minimum, so when I started to drink upwards of 80 oz. I felt like I was a rock star. At my first prenatal appointment I proudly relayed that number to the nurse as if I was sharing the secrets of the universe, sure that she would schedule a parade in my honor to celebrate my hydration.
I was wrong.
“You need to bump that up to a gallon, or as close as you can get, each day,” she scolded (your ob-gyn will offer guidelines as to how much you need to drink, this was my experience). “Ummmm, excuse me?” I thought. I tried to recall a time when I put a gallon of water into anything, let alone my body, and came up with nothing. I couldn’t even remember how many ounces were actually in a gallon at that moment in time (it’s 128 oz. – just in case you have “pregnancy brain” like I do!), and left feeling defeated.
How would I ever drink that much water short of running a hose through the bathroom window and sitting on the toilet all day long? It sounded nearly impossible, but I had no choice other than to tackle the challenge for the sake of my baby’s health.
I was glad to read that I wasn’t alone, and members of our our site November 2016 Birth Club shared my struggle along with their best tips for staying hydrated. Here is what a few of them suggested:
“I carry around a water bottle all day. I have one in the fridge and one sitting by me. When I empty one, I refill it and replace it with the cold one out of the fridge.” - my6pak
“Start early. Flavor some of it with lemon or lime slices.” - SurpriseMommyof5
“I measure mine by liters, 4 liters is a gallon. I have a straw cup that holds a liter, so I fill it up four times a day. My goal is 2 liters at work, 2 liters at home. Using a straw cup and keeping it cold helps me drink a lot.” - LauraWey
“I have a 16 ounce cup that I use and measure by. So as soon as I wake up, I drink a cup of water and then about an hour later, drink another cup. I have this simple tracking app on my phone that every cup (8 ounces) I tap on it and it keeps track.” - nicsfirst
“I actually add it to my list of things to do, in CAPS.” - avmommyjv
As for me, I found my success in the manner many of our members mentioned, which is using a measured water bottle and/or cup. I use a 32 oz. cup and a 20 oz. water bottle, enabling me to keep track of how much water I'm drinking. I’ve actually been known to scold my husband for sipping my water because I don’t want to lose track of what I’ve consumed.
Another trick I use, now that I’m home on bed rest, is to fill up my allotted amount of water in glasses and bottles each morning and leave them covered on the counter (I prefer room temperature water), ready for me to drink throughout the day. I feel a sense of accomplishment as the line of glasses gets smaller as the day progresses.
Ultimately, what helped the most was when I finally forced myself to drink that gallon of water a day and as a result I felt amazing. I knew this was what my body needed. It helped combat bloating and edema, and notably slowed my contractions.
It’s like member Mrshutton16 says, “After about a week of drinking a gallon you'll feel so good, even if you didn't feel "bad" before!”
Photo credit: Becky Vieira
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.