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The Importance of Water

Posted on October 18, 2011 at 11:40 AM
We are officially on our babymoon.  Thank you to my fellow Bradley® teacher, Lisa Pearson, AAHCC for contributing today's post that addresses the function of water in pregnancy.

We all know it is important to stay hydrated, especially when we live in the desert.  Why is it so important?  Does it matter what we drink to hydrate our bodies?  What is the best way to hydrate our bodies?  How much do we need to drink in order to properly hydrate our bodies?
Ok, let’s start at, “why is it so important?”.  Our bodies are hydroelectric machines that need water in order to function.  Feeling thirsty is actually a LAST DITCH EFFORT for our bodies to get our attention to our severely dehydrated state, it is not the first step. 
Our entire bodies are made entirely of cells. Picture cells this way…cells are like little shower heads in reverse.  Meaning they are covered with little perforations that allow moisture in for hydration.  Moisture gets inside the cell and hydrates it, the remaining moisture then coats the outside of the cell to hydrate the outside where it stays sort of like a bubble until needed.  Cells travel throughout our bodies hydrating organs, muscles, etc as they move along their journey allowing our bodies to work at their optimum.
Does it matter what we drink to hydrate our bodies? What is the best way to hydrate our bodies? 
These two questions are sort of one in the same.  Yes, what we drink matters very much; which leads us to the best way to hydrate our bodies.  Water is the ONLY way to truly hydrate your body. 
Why?  Let’s continue…water is the only moisture that can get inside those little perforations.  Every other liquid just cannot break down small enough to get inside.  When liquid cannot get inside and hydrate the cell from the inside out, the cell starts to dry up and shrivel like a raisin. (This is one of the reasons we get wrinkles!)  Now, it gets more insidious from here…the liquid other than water that we have put into our bodies is sticky and sticks to the outside of the cell.  As it travels throughout the body, it is not a hydrated cell so it cannot feed moisture to the organs like is needed and we start to get dehydrated.  As these cells go through the urinary system and the moisture is now eliminated, the insidiousness starts to get worse.  The sticky liquid is now leaving the cell and takes with it any moisture from the inside, leaving the cell completely dried up.
How much do we need to drink in order to properly hydrate our bodies? 
Most of us think of the 6-8 tall glasses of water per day rule, right?  Well this is not true.  Think about it…if Person A weighs 100 pounds and Person B weighs 350 pounds, how can 6-8 glasses of water a day be right for both of them?  How about people who gain or lose large amounts of weight (for example, being pregnant and getting appropriately larger quickly and then giving birth)?  How can the same amount be enough at both our lighter weight moments and our heavier weight moments?  This just makes no sense. 
A better rule of thumb is this:  take your weight in pounds, divide by 2, and that is the number of ounces of water you should be drinking every single day.  If you are drinking other liquids, for example, you just cannot live without your morning cup of coffee, you need to increase your water intake accordingly to cover that coffee that is so dehydrating.  Also, if it is very warm or you are exercising and you are perspiring, you will need to add more water to make up for that as well.
Now that you have learned all this lets go back a moment to why it is so important.  Remember those little dehydrated cells moving throughout our bodies?  Let’s continue on their insidiousness.   The cells move to our organs in their dehydrated state but they have no moisture to give to our organs to make the organs run smoothly at their optimum levels.  All the cells are dehydrated so what do you think happens next?  Our organs get dehydrated.   When our organs are dehydrated, our bodies start to go into power saver mode kind of like a city doing purposeful brown outs in summer to avoid a complete blackout.  Our bodies start to shut down the least important functions to save the moisture for the most important, the heart and the brain.  Without the heart and brain working properly, the body cannot continue, so other organs that are less important start to power down.  At first they go into a less active mode.  They are still working, still doing their jobs, just not as quickly or as efficiently.  The power down means our bodies are running sluggishly: digestion is not as good, we are tired, toxins are not being flushed out of the body.  The toxins show up on our skin as age spots, etc. 
As the drought in our bodies continues, more organs power down.  Eventually the organs begin to completely shut down.  Now we have major problems.  The pancreas stops processing sugar and we become diabetic.  Abnormal cells are not flushed out of our bodies but instead gather together with other abnormal cells somewhere in our bodies.  A cluster of abnormal cells is cancer.  The list goes on, but you start to get the idea. 
Does the type of water make a difference? 
Oh yes, very much.  First of all, distilled water is not for drinking, it is for cleaning.  The process that removes all the bad things in the water, also removes all the good things in the water as well.  It does not differentiate.  You cannot use distilled water in a freshwater fish tank, your fish will die.  Distilled water is “dead” water.  Our bodies cannot function with dead water; our bodies need good, healthy water. 
Also, make sure you know what is in your water: know how it is processed and where the water comes from.  Most bottled water is just city water put into a bottle for your convenience.  City water is full of chlorine.  “So?”, you ask, and think, “I swim in chlorine.”  That may be true but…a study conducted in 1998 by the California Department of Health issued a warning to pregnant women in regards to drinking water processed with chlorine.  A pregnant woman who drinks water processed with chlorine increases her risk of miscarriage!  Although a 2005 study of the same issue concluded that there might be less of a risk than implied by the 1998 study, a risk still remains.

There is another ingredient that you want to try to avoid in your drinking water: magnesium sulfate.  Magnesium sulfate is used in hospitals to slow labor.  Certainly not a good water to use when you are in labor! 
One last thought…water alone does not make the hydroelectric machine function properly.  In order to be used to its fullest potential, water needs salt.  No, you don’t have to salt your water, but you do need to add a little salt into your diet.  If you are concerned about adding salt because of high blood pressure or other reasons, try sea salt.  It is the healthiest salt because the way it is processed leaves all the minerals needed in the salt, whereas iodized salt and kosher salt remove the minerals.  This however, is a whole other blog post conversation.
Moral of the story…drink plenty of water and know where it has been before it arrived in your drinking glass!  Now, I am going to go get a refill on my ice water.

For more reading about Chlorine & Tap Water:
Water Quality - 1998 Study

Water Quality - 2002 Report

Water Quality - 2005 Study

Risk of Chlorinated Pools & Pregnancy
About the author:
My name is Lisa Pearson and I have been married for 20 years to a wonderful man.  We have 2 children, both girls, ages 16 and 4.  Our first birth was a traumatic one using a different method and the second was a fairy tale birth using the Bradley Method®.  We have been Bradley® teachers for 3 years because of that birth.  I am also a doula and soon to be student midwife; as well as just finishing up with my certificate in holistic nutrition.  We teach in North Phoenix just off the 51 highway.  Our classes are on Thursdays at 5:00 pm and Saturdays at 4:00 pm.  Our next class series will begin on Thursday, December 1, 2011 and Saturday, January 7, 2012.  You can find me on the Bradley® Birth website in the teacher information section, or call me at 602-494-3554 or email me at [email protected]

The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Categories: Avoiding harmful substances, Dehydration and Pregnancy, Drinking during labor, Information Center, Nutrition

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1 Comment

Reply Rachel Davis
8:35 PM on October 18, 2011 
Great post, Lisa!