5 tips to help you increase water consumption during pregnancy and the importance of proper hydration in pregnancy.
During pregnancy, it can be difficult to stay hydrated especially if you are dealing with morning sickness and more trips to the bathroom.
Understanding the importance of staying hydrated can help motivate you to drink more water for the sake of your health and your baby.
Disclaimer: This is intended for educational purposes only, not medical advice. Any questions or concerns should be addressed with your medical provider.
Benefits of Proper Hydration for Ultrasounds
At Baby in Sight, we strive to capture exceptional 3D/4D ultrasound images of your growing belly bean.
To help us with this, we ask that you drink at least 500 mls of water about 30 minutes prior to your ultrasound and not empty your bladder.
Ultrasound machines operate by transmitting and receiving high-frequency sound waves, too high to be heard by the human ear.
Once these sound waves are transmitted and received, they are analyzed by special computer technology to produce the images you will see on the screen.
Sound waves can travel more easily through fluid-filled areas and have a harder time traveling through gas-filled areas, such as your bowel.
For early pregnancies, as the bladder fills it helps to push bowel farther away from the targeted area and allows easy transmission of the sound waves, therefore producing clearer ultrasound images of your womb.
For more advanced pregnancies, there is a higher volume of amniotic fluid around the baby to enhance the image quality so a full bladder prior to a regular 2D medical ultrasound is usually not imperative.
However, with respect to 4D imaging specifically, a fuller bladder can help push the baby’s head higher up in the pelvis improving visualization of facial features (that is if the head is in the downward position) so we still recommend drinking water before your 4D scan.
Additional Benefits of Proper Hydration
Amniotic Fluid Production
It is vital to your health and the health of your baby to stay sufficiently hydrated throughout your entire pregnancy.
Remaining well-hydrated will help your body produce an adequate volume of amniotic fluid which keeps your baby safe inside your womb.
Think of amniotic fluid as a cushion for your baby, ensuring your little one is well protected.
Normal amniotic fluid levels also allow the baby to move freely within the womb.
If you have inadequate levels of amniotic fluid, your baby will have less protection within the womb and will have more difficulty moving around.
Oligohydramnios is the medical term used to define low amniotic fluid.
Oligohydramnios can lead to complications such as preterm birth, umbilical cord compression, high concentration of meconium in the fluid, and the baby’s inability to move into a head-down birthing position.
Generally speaking, increasing water consumption can boost amniotic fluid levels in the womb (Maternal hydration for increasing amniotic fluid volume study).
Having an adequate amount of amniotic fluid will also increase the image quality of your 4D ultrasounds.
The more amniotic fluid, the better the 3D/4D ultrasound image!
Check out our 3D/4D Ultrasound Packages here and be sure to use the tips listed below to help you drink plenty of water before your ultrasound for the best results!
Other Body Processes
The body relies on water to carry out numerous bodily functions.
Your body needs water to produce more blood to supply to your baby, maintain smooth digestion, transport additional nutrients from your food, and eliminate waste.
When dehydrated, these processes will slow and your body will not be able to function as effectively.
Signs you are NOT properly hydrated:
Your urine is a dark yellow color.
Observing the colour of your urine is the easiest way to determine proper hydration.
You should aim for urine that is pale yellow or nearly colourless.
Dark yellow-colored urine is a sign of dehydration and needs to be addressed immediately.
You are thirsty.
Thirst is a sign of dehydration, so if you are waiting until you feel thirsty to drink water you are already behind on your water consumption!
Try drinking a glass of water in the morning when you first wake up to start the day off right!
You are lightheaded, dizzy, or have headaches.
Dehydration can cause low blood pressure which leads to dizziness, lightheadedness, and headaches.
Drinking water to the point of being well-hydrated increases blood volume in the body allowing your organs to receive oxygen and nutrients needed for optimal function.
You are experiencing Braxton Hicks or other muscle cramps/spasms.
Low blood pressure from dehydration can also lead to muscle cramps.
Specifically, in pregnancy, the uterus responds to dehydration by cramping (contracting).
Braxton Hicks contractions can happen more often when dehydrated.
If you are noticing more Braxton Hicks contractions or other muscle cramps, it is important to self-evaluate your hydration level and talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns.
You are constipated.
The body uses water for all digestive functions.
Dehydration can slow the digestive system and make bowel movements more difficult.
Consuming more water should help you have a “smooth move.”
5 Tips To Help You Drink More Water
Staying hydrated during pregnancy requires a conscious effort.
If you are someone who struggles with drinking enough water throughout the day, here are a few tips to help you increase your water intake!
Dress up your “naked” water.
Add fresh fruit to your water like lemon, lime, orange, berries, cucumber, etc.
Plain water can get boring which will make you more reluctant to drink more of it.
Fruit-infused water can keep the flavour of your water interesting and refreshing.
There are numerous health benefits to adding fruit to your water, such as delivering more electrolytes to your body, therefore boosting hydration and delivering more essential nutrients to your body!
Check out these easy, homemade recipes for deliciously refreshing fruit-infused water to satisfy your thirst!
Use a low-sugar electrolyte supplement in your water
There are various electrolyte supplements on the market these days.
Look for an electrolyte supplement that is low in sugar because consuming sugary drinks like sports drinks, juice, and soda can dehydrate you.
Your body requires water to metabolize sugar; consuming sugary drinks will further increase your need for water.
Ask your healthcare provider for a pregnancy-safe, low-sugar electrolyte supplement recommendation to add to your water.
Use a cute tumbler cup or water bottle to carry with you all day.
Having a water bottle you love will help you drink more water throughout the day because you will naturally want to keep it nearby.
There are also “motivational” water bottles with time markers on the outside which allow you to better budget and track your water consumption.
Set a timer on your phone as a reminder to drink water.
Maybe your days are booked full of activities and you just get too busy to pause for a drink of water.
Set a timer on your phone to remind you to stop what you are doing and drink a glass of water.
Set a timer 45 minutes before your ultrasound appointment to remind you to empty your bladder completely then drink about 500 mls of water.
The exact amount of water needed to fill the bladder can vary from person to person but aiming for consuming 2-4 glasses of water in the hour leading up to your ultrasound will ensure good results.
Try not to empty your bladder again until after your ultrasound.
Chugging water right before walking into the ultrasound appointment will not be enough time to fill your bladder so make sure you plan ahead!
Staying hydrated during pregnancy can feel like a chore but incorporating these 5 tips to increase water consumption during pregnancy and recognizing the health benefits will hopefully help you reach for your water more often!
Your body and baby will thank you!