Keep your body hydrated for a healthy pregnancy

The human body can do miraculous things, but in order to perform its most intricate functions, it needs to be well taken care of. This involves feeding it the right foods to ensure that it gets all the nutrients it needs, as well as keeping it sufficiently hydrated.

During pregnancy, hydration becomes even more important. Not only is your body going through some changes that it doesn't normally endure, but it's accommodating your growing baby.

As your belly grows, so does your blood volume. It's important to drink water to ensure that all that additional blood is circulating well, especially around your expanding uterus. One place in particular that needs to be nourished by a healthy blood supply is the endometrium, which is the inner mucous membrane of your uterus, where the embryo implanted. This tissue continues to help get your baby nutrients and water as he or she grows.

Water regulates hormones
While you're pregnant, you've most likely noticed the effects of elevated levels of hormones travelling through your bloodstream. An important one is the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and you need water to help get it to where it needs to go. 

The hCG hormone will cause a pregnancy test to turn positive, but it does more than give you happy news, as it also regulates estrogen and progesterone levels in the beginning until the placenta has developed enough to take over this role. Although important, it is also responsible for your overactive bladder that is often experienced during the first trimester, as well as morning sickness.

Promotes milk production
Another benefit of drinking lots of water is that it can help your body produce milk for breastfeeding, which is important as it may protect your baby by supplying him or her with the nutrients he or she needs to fight early infections. Moreover, studies have shown that this process can be beneficial to mom as well, lowering her risk of developing type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression.

In addition, breastfeeding can also save you money and may make you feel more connected to your newborn, as it provides a relaxing time to bond. The process also boosts oxytocin levels that may not only help milk flow, but can make you feel calm.

Always carry water on you
Now that you know some of the many advantages to staying hydrated, here are some ways you can consume a healthy amount of water throughout each day. Most individuals get water through the beverages they drink, however, broth-based soups and some produce, such as celery, tomatoes, oranges and melons, are mostly made of water.

An easy way to make sure you always have some water on hand is to carry a water bottle with you while you're running errands or at work. If you find yourself getting sick of plain water, spike it with a hint of fruit by adding a wedge of lime or lemon in there, or even your favorite berry.

There is no right amount of water that you should drink on a daily basis, but experts typically recommend drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses per day, according to the National Institute of Health.

Do you have any recommendations for our readers on how to stay hydrated? Did you notice a difference in how you felt on days you were sufficiently hydrated as compared to days you weren't? Leave your answers in the comments section!