Want to know how much water to drink per day?
As noted in our article: Avoid Dehydration – Setting Your Hydration Goals and Staying Hydrated this all depends!
So what causes your hydration requirements to vary?
Climate & Exercise
Think of your body as a computer or engine.
To function properly it needs to avoid overheating.
To cool itself down your body commands the dilation of blood vessels (vasodilation) near the skin so that warm blood can flow closer to the surface (at a cooler temperature) – this is why you see people with rosy faces when they exercise.
Your body also tries to cool the skin by secreting sweat made up of water, sodium and other cooling substances – all of which must be replaced.
One good way to assess how much fluid you’re losing during exercise is to weigh yourself before and after.
According to the University of Connecticut, to replenish your bodies water stores, you need to drink half a litre of water for every pound of weight lost.
If that’s too complicated, aim for 6 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise.
Use this as a starting point, adjusting your water intake based on how your body feels and the colour of your urine (as mentioned in our article Avoid Dehydration!).
Water is easily lost through illnesses.
For example, you can lose as much as 250ml per day for every degree (centigrade) that your body rises above normal body temperature due to a fever.
Other illnesses which cause vomiting and diarrhoea may also result in a significant loss of fluid.
There are a list of other infections that will require greater water intake; including, urinary tract stones, bladder infections, gout and constipation.
If you are worried about such ailments speak with your doctor!
In these cases you need to be aware that dehydration is a risk that needs to be addressed by utilizing “oral rehydration solutions” (i.e. drinking water!).
It’s also worth noting that not all disorders require an increase of fluid intake; for example, heart failure, disorders of the kidney, liver and the adrenals may all require reductions in water consumption.
Again, speak with your doctor!
Water is needed to maintain vital fluids in the body, such as blood and amniotic fluid while pregnant.
It may also need to be replaced if morning sickness kicks in!
The average healthy woman, carrying a normal sized fetus weighing 3.3 kg, increases her blood plasma volume on average by 1,250ml.
This is around 50% of the average volume for non-pregnant women and is due to the increased need for oxygen while pregnant (for vital organs to function properly and to deliver oxygen to the baby)
Amniotic fluid provides support and nourishment to unborn babies while in the womb. It assists in their growth, the development of their musculoskeletal system and maintains a constant temperature for the baby.
So what’s the relevance of all this?
Well… Amniotic fluid is mostly water!
Yet again, there is no single ideal level of water consumption for pregnant women because everyone varies; however, once you understand your usual consumption, using the methods explained in our other hydration article, slightly increase the volume to see how you feel.
The additional water intake required during pregnancy is good practice for the even more strenuous regimen needed whilst producing breast milk for feeding.
Agostoni CV et al. published guidance in The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Journal that:
‘Adequate Intakes (AI’s) of water for infants in the first half of the first year of life are estimated to be 100 – 190 ml/kg per day. For infants 6 to 12 months of age a total water intake of 800 – 1,000 ml/day is considered adequate.’
The mother needs to make sure she stays hydrated so she has enough fluids to support both her and the baby.
So if this applies to you, make sure you keep your bottle of water close by and use the techniques outlined in our article ‘setting your hydration goals and staying hydrated’ during this important time.