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Proper nutrition is important for overall health, and so is water. Drinking adequate levels of water is necessary to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body and ensure proper flow of blood and transport of nutrients across the body.
Intake of adequate levels of water is all the more important during pregnancy. Due to the physiological changes and symptoms such as vomiting that occur during this period, pregnant women are at a higher risk of dehydration. (1)
Though studies on fluid intake in pregnant women are limited, there is enough information to show that a pregnant woman undergoes endocrine changes (involving the thyroid) that influence metabolism and fluid balance. These lead to changes in water requirements to maintain proper hydration. (1)
In a study that included pregnant women, dehydration caused changes in birth weight and length of babies, and when hydration levels were met, there was an improvement in all parameters. The study also suggested pregnant women drink at least 3 liters or 6 glasses of water per day for healthy fetal development. (2)
Though there isn’t evidence that warm water is especially useful during pregnancy, it has some general benefits that pregnant women can enjoy. Some of these will be discussed in this article.
Reasons Pregnant Women Should Drink Warm Water
Here are the advantages of drinking warm water during pregnancy.
1. Improves digestion and prevents constipation
It is believed that warm water can improve the digestion of food and the release of nutrients.
Though there is limited research to back this claim, a recent study has shown that drinking warm water at 60°C improved appetite perception, reducing the chances of overeating and weight gain while also improving energy levels. (3)
The study suggested that consuming warm water 30 minutes before meals can improve energy production from the food you eat due to improved digestion.
In the same study, participants also consumed less food after drinking cold water at 2°C, 30 minutes before meals, as it helped decrease the contractions of the intestine. This can also be an effective weight loss strategy. However, due to reduced gastric motility, you may experience slower digestion. (3)
Studies have also found that warm water is useful in preventing constipation by improving muscle tone and spasms. (4)
These findings indicate drinking warm water is useful for pregnant women by improving their digestion and preventing constipation, a discomfort many pregnant women complain of.
2. Improves gut health
Gut health influence many functions in the human body, including proper digestion, preventing infections, and improving mood. Animal studies have shown drinking warm water improved gut microorganism diversity and reduced the risk of infections. (5)
Since hormonal changes during pregnancy can alter gut microorganisms and increase the risk of infections, drinking warm water can be a useful remedy for improving gut diversity. (6)
3. Can prevent congestion
Pregnant women can occasionally suffer from bouts of the common cold or flu, and their physiological state demands they be cautious in their use of medicines. (7) In such cases, pregnant women turn to home remedies to manage symptoms as best as they can.
Drinking warm water can be extremely helpful as it can ease nasal congestion, relieve sore throat, and loosen mucus buildup. Even inhaling steam from a warm drink can be beneficial. (8)
4. Improves mood
Pregnant women often experience altered moods due to changes in their hormones. (9)
One study revealed that drinking warm water may also be an effective strategy to increase water intake and therefore can be beneficial for mood. (10) The study participants reported that they felt improvement in their anxiety levels when they had adequate levels of hydration. (10)
Increasing water intake in those who consume less water can also improve the feeling of calmness and positivity, (11) feelings that are important in pregnant women.
5. Can improve adaptability during winter
Drinking warm water is the easiest way to adapt to colder weather and reduce shivering. Researchers have found that drinking warm water can reduce the energy required by the body to maintain its temperature. (12)
This can not only help pregnant women feel better during the cold months but also help redirect their energy to maintaining fetal and maternal health.
6. May aid detoxification
While warm water in particular has no benefit in the body’s detoxification, it can be a way to increase overall water intake. And improved levels of hydration have been found to improve the ability of kidneys to flush out waste products, lower inflammation, lubricate the joints, and maintain body functions. (13)
Drinking herbal teas such as ginger, chamomile, and peppermint can be a great way to increase the intake of water and prevent dehydration. Ginger tea is extremely effective in reducing nausea and the feeling of sickness in pregnant women. (14)
Precautions to Consider
Warm water is good for you, but there are certain precautions you need to follow:
- Make sure the water you are drinking is no more than 70°C.
- Make sure you are not drinking only warm water throughout the day as, according to traditional Persian medicine practices, it can weaken the gastrointestinal tract. (15)
Most-Asked Questions About Drinking Warm Water During Pregnancy
Should I drink only warm water during pregnancy?
There is no evidence suggesting only warm water should be consumed during pregnancy. You can have 1–2 cups each day or 30 minutes before each meal to improve digestion and improve energy.
How much water should a pregnant woman drink on a hot day?
Water intake is necessary to maintain proper fluid levels in the amniotic sac as well as in the woman’s body. It is recommended that a pregnant woman drink 8–12 glasses of water each day depending on how hot she feels.
Can I drink cold water on a hot day during pregnancy?
You may find that drinking cold water relieves symptoms of hot flashes during pregnancy. It is absolutely safe to sip on cold (not freezing) water provided you do not immediately follow it up with drinking warm water or eating hot foods.
Keep a gap of 30 minutes before and after drinking cold water to eat or drink anything else.
Warm water is a great way to increase overall hydration levels during pregnancy. Proper hydration levels are important to maintain several body functions such as improving digestion, preventing constipation, improving the body’s detoxification process, and even elevating mood.
Just 1–2 cups of warm water can be beneficial for a pregnant woman’s health.
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