Staying hydrated during pregnancy is utterly important. The growing baby and placenta need twice as much fluid than the non-pregnant lady, and for good reason, everything in the body is changing. The cardio vascular system increases almost 40% during pregnancy. The harder the heart works, the more exertion a body puts out (i.e. climbing stairs is harder, working out during pregnancy is harder) and the more sweat is produced. The blood volume during pregnancy changes- this is the most striking difference physiologically. The body has literally 50% MORE blood; red blood cells, protein, lipids etc. available for the mother and child. All of these circumstances, plus more like increased respiration, increased kidney function, lead to the need for more fluid in the pregnant body.
But, what should you drink? Pregnant and sick you should be drinking basically water, along with a few drinks a day with electrolytes (sodium, potassium) like juice or a sports drink. When suffering from this never-ending flu the USA is seeing, do pregnant women need even MORE fluids? Yes, Yes, Yes! If water and soup seem like torture during the flu season use the following suggestions to increase fluid and variety.
- Apple and Orange- common choices and good ones, make sure the sugar isn’t too high per serving (less than 20g)
- Try some exotic fruit juice like –Pineapple, Mango, Raspberry, Blueberry or a Fruit cocktail to liven things up. If you’re drinking too much juice (more than 2 servings a day) watering them down will lengthen the amount you can have.
- It may not be your first choice with the flu, but milk (with its protein and natural sugars) is filling and a nice break from water and juice. Ice cold chocolate milk is refreshing or hot chocolate is a great little snack.
- Coconut milk is a “sweet” option. Literally sweet tasting and watery, it can be a tasty alternative from regular milk.
- There’s a reason your mother gave you chicken soup with a cold. The water content keeps you hydrated and the chicken stock is loaded with electrolytes and minerals your germ ridden body needs to heal its self. Adding celery or carrots or alternating a beef stew can keep thing interesting when the flu drags on for days.
Stay Away From Soda
- Loaded with sugars, soda will NOT hydrate you; it will only make you thirstier! One or 2 servings a day (6-8oz each) will not harm the pregnant lady, but there are so many better drinks out there when sick and pregnant.
- Don’t overlook good old fashioned water. Adding lemons, oranges, cucumbers, strawberries or raspberries can add a flavor boost when water is getting dull. When sick and pregnant 8-10 glasses of water a day (8oz each) isn’t too much, it’s just right.
- Vegetables and fruit are a great source of water, vitamins and minerals, exactly what your body needs if fighting the flu. Load up on the 5-7 servings a day recommended and you might even fight off the flu!