Drink more water. You’ve likely heard this a million times and brushed it off because – let’s be honest – drinking water can feel like a chore. However, water is so essential, it’s the only substance humans cannot survive without for more than a few days. It is the key to health and wellbeing: water keeps your cells and organs working, your skin and hair healthy, fights illness, and improves your mood. If you’re pregnant, it eases several discomforts such as constipation and UTIs while helping you grow a healthy, happy baby. We need to stay hydrated to avoid becoming dehydrated, the symptoms of which are far too familiar but can quickly become debilitating.
There are many misconceptions about how to stay hydrated, so we are here to debunk some myths and give you the tools to make this vital health mainstay easier and more fun.
How to Stay Hydrated: 6 Myths Debunked
Myth 1: You have to drink eight 8-oz glasses of water a day
While doctors do widely advise drinking eight 8oz glasses of water per day to stay hydrated, this suggestion overlooks other water sources you may be getting in your diet. It also doesn’t address the fact that breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women should consume more, as proper hydration plays a crucial role in their baby’s development. The point is, water is essential—you should listen to the experts, but at the end of the day, let thirst be your guide.
Myth 2: Tea and coffee count as water
Tea and coffee consumption actually do count towards your overall water intake. However, they are also a diuretic, meaning they cause you to eliminate (pee) out water, which can offset your daily requirement. So when it comes to tea and coffee as a substitute for water, just say no. Let them be a part of your daily ritual*, but make sure to prioritize H20.
*Note on tea and coffee while pregnant. Caffeine is both a stimulant and a diuretic and should be consumed at a minimum during pregnancy. What does a minimum mean? According to the American Pregnancy Association, “the less caffeine you consume, the better.” Experts suggest no more than 1 cup per day.
Myth 3: There is no substitute for water
You need actual water to survive, but certain fruits and vegetables are also great sources. Try some of these easily snackable, water-dense foods for an H20 boost:
- Watermelon – 92% water
- Strawberries – 92% water
- Cantaloupe – 89% water
- Cucumber – 95% water
- Celery – 95% water
- Cauliflower – 91% water
- Zucchini – 90% water
- Tomatoes – 95% water
For more information on water-rich foods, check out Healthline’s list of 19 hydrating foods.
Myth 4: You can never have too much water
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as overhydration. It happens when you consume more water than your kidneys can process and eliminate. While this is an unlikely scenario, there are some signs you should keep an eye out for if you think you’ve been overindulging:
- Clear urine
- Nausea and/or vomiting
So avoid chugging water needlessly, and drink when you’re thirsty. Trust your body and let it be your guide.
For more information on overhydration and all things, water, check out this article published by the Harvard Public School of Health.
Myth 5: Sports drinks are better than water for daily fitness
No, no, and no. Sports drinks are designed for intense physical activity and are packed with carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, and amino acids (aka an excess of sugar and electrolytes). So unless you’re running a marathon, you should skip these high-calorie drinks and opt for everyday water, or one of the infused waters we recommend below.
If you’re reaching for a sports drink while you’re pregnant, they are technically safe to drink and may seem like a shortcut to meeting your fluid uptake goals or managing discomfort, such as nausea. Still, the sugar alone puts you at risk of excessive weight gain, which in some cases can lead to gestational diabetes. Give coconut water, sparkling water, milk, or infused water a try, and say no to sports drinks.
Myth 6: Drinking water is the key to weight loss
Water is a great tool to regulate your body, but exercise, diet, AND water are the keys to successful and sustainable weight loss. Water boosts your metabolism. Superfoods keep you nourished. And, if we do say so ourselves, the EMbody programs – the only clinically proven program to resolve diastasis recti while helping you feel strong and empowered in your body in less than 10-30 minutes a day – will help you achieve the physical strength and fitness level you desire.
The same goes during pregnancy. While you shouldn’t lose weight while pregnant, a healthy, well-balanced diet, regular water intake, and staying active will help you avoid common pregnancy discomforts like lower back pain and urinary incontinence. It’ll also help you safely build strength and stamina for birth. The Mayo Clinic recommends “30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise” daily, and our OB-endorsed fitness program, EMbody Prepare, has trimester-specific regimens that can be completed in less than 30 minutes to help you feel your best during pregnancy.
5 Easy Tips to Stay Hydrated:
Carry around a reusable water bottle.We love ones with built-in straws which makes it easy to drink without spilling. Check out Vogue’s 21 Best Water Bottles to find one that works for you.
Transform regular water into spa water. Try adding citrus slices, fresh herbs, and other chopped fruits into your water to take it from boring to blissful- check out EM founder Leah Keller’s infused water recipe below.
Eat your water. Opt for recipes with high water content foods; for inspiration, see the list above. Try this hydrating fruit salad that can easily be turned into spa water or check out these 43 recipes to keep you hydrated.
Make your own popsicles. What’s better than a guilt-free dessert? Try combining coconut milk with your favorite fruits, or transforming your daily smoothie, maybe even add a dash of tequila* to make it extra festive.
*Note, drinking alcohol during pregnancy is harmful to your baby. To keep things festive, add a dash of honey or agave.
Salt your food to taste. Many of us focus only on the water side of hydration, but in reality, we need a balance of water and salt (salts = electrolytes) to maintain healthy hydration. And the best indicator as to how much water and salt you need to achieve this? Your own body! So let taste and thirst guide you. If you find yourself craving salty foods (pickles, anyone!), or if home-cooked recipes suddenly taste bland to you, your body is telling you to increase your salt intake to guard hydration and electrolyte balance. Your body is wise – trust it.
EM founder, Leah Keller’s Himalayan Salt Infused Water
- Pour yourself a tall glass of cool water (ice optional).
- Add a pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
- Squeeze in fresh lemon or lime juice.
- Stir & enjoy!
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