Friday, August 9, 2013

Countdown to TTC: Week 51

Hydrate Like a Pregnant Lady

Last week I prepared for conception (now in the not-so-distant future) by getting ready spiritually.  While I am continuing to read and pray, I also wanted to start doing something to get my body ready for the process.  I'm always hearing that the most physically demanding thing most women ever do is go through pregnancy and childbirth, and I definitely wouldn't say I'm in the best shape for such a marathon right now.  I have been on a journey for some time to eat healthier and get fit, but the actual weight loss and muscle gain associated with those changes have been minimal.  Now that I have a target date and a specific fitness challenge to prepare for, I am hoping to make some slow but positive change in the next 51 weeks.  When I go to the doctor for a preconception checkup, I want to be able to report that I've been doing everything I can to prepare for a healthy pregnancy.  

However, overhauling my life all at once seems like a stressful way to approach the situation.  I am starting early, so why not take things a step at a time, starting with something easy?  

The first "easy" task that came to mind was hydration.  It's simple, it's easily measurable, and it's important.  Plus, fluid intake needs increase significantly during pregnancy and low amniotic fluid is a common reason for term inductions.  I recently saw several episodes of A Baby Story and Baby's First Day on TLC in which women were induced at term for low amniotic fluid--a situation I'd like to avoid.  Admittedly, these inductions may not be necessary (see this great article on Science & Sensibility on the topic for more info), but it's also possible to reduce the risk of getting a diagnosis of low amniotic fluid in the first place by staying well-hydrated.  But apparently staying well-hydrated at term means drinking 2.5 liters (that's nearly 11 cups) of water per day!  So getting used to drinking plenty of water before getting pregnant seemed like a good idea.

Following that thought process, I set a goal for this week of drinking 8 glasses (64 oz) of water a day.  I am already a SparkPeople member, so tracking my water intake is as simple as clicking on an arrow each time I finish another cup.  Unfortunately, it turns out actually drinking that much water isn't as easy as I thought it would be.

I'm currently only on day 3 of this challenge, and so far I haven't met my goal.  Turns out I like to drink 5-6 glasses a day and anything more than that feels unpleasant.  It's not my ideal to have to pee every 30 minutes for half of the evening either (because I am trying to make up for not drinking during the day).  I'm sure I used to drink a lot more without issue at one time, but I have gotten into bad habits in the years since I went off to college and no longer had a ready supply of cool, filtered water and ice.  But I think by the end of the week I'll have achieved my 8 glasses a day and figured out some strategies to make it less challenging.  And I guess eventually one's body must become used to the better hydration and keep some of it in longer!  Here's what I've tried so far:

  1. Buy a water bottle that keeps liquid cold for a long time and doesn't sweat.  I decided to go with the Trudeau Cool Off 24-Ounce Hydration Bottle because it is fairly affordable, has air insulation that prevents sweating, includes a straw so it doesn't spill all over you when you drink out of it but can still be closed, and comes in a cute pink color.  I drink a lot more using this than I do with smaller bottles, even though it is a bit large for carrying around.  And the fact that the water stays cold really helps. 
  2. Figure out a good way to track your intake.  You think you will know how much you are drinking, but I found that method leads to extreme overestimation on my part.  The water bottle I got holds exactly 3 cups of liquid, so that way I know if I drink all of it and fill it 3 times during the day, I have exceeded my goal.  I also recommend using a ticker or counter throughout the day so you don't start fudging the numbers come evening.  As I said earlier, I like the one on the SparkPeople nutrition tracker.
  3. Distribute your consumption throughout the day!  This is my main problem--I think I am drinking at work but I get distracted and then realize I have only had one cup of water in 5 hours.  If you are then determined to make up for it the rest of the day, you will find yourself in the same bladder-busting situation I did.  

What about you?  Do you have any suggestions on how to drink more water?  Any pregnancy stories about hydration?   What do you think I should do in the next 50 weeks to prepare for conception?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting! Please refer to the Commenting Guidelines page if you have any questions.