Quarter 3: Setting hydration goals and revisiting my “why”

Why am I even doing this?

I started this blog and goal-setting project to establish new habits to meet certain goals each quarter of the year and maintain and build on those throughout the year. Well, my first quarter habits based on air quality goals have entirely fallen to the wayside, and I think I know why — while I don’t think they are unimportant, they aren’t important enough to me right now.

The other main motivation for my starting this project was the fact that my husband and I were looking to expand our family this year and as I still have a hard time looking back on how my labor, delivery, and recovery went with my son’s birth over 2 years ago, I want to set myself up for a more positive experience this time around. I believe lack of sleep played a big part in my fear and inability to cope and so I was hoping this wellness project would give me a foundation of self-care that allowed me to better handle stressful events. But brushing my cat’s fur every day (former air quality goal) doesn’t really feel like it does a whole lot to set myself up for a positive birth experience.

Now I’m halfway through my pregnancy with our second child. Moving forward with this blog and my goals for the year, I’m keeping my desire for a positive birth experience and smooth recovery at the forefront of my goals.

This is more likely to effect my nutrition goals in quarter 4 (be prepared for “weird” goals like eating lots of dates) than my hydration goals, but I still think it matters for when my motivation is low and my brain starts trying to talk me out of getting up for another glass of water.

This quarter, I’m staying true to my “why”: I’m doing this for my baby, I’m doing this for me, I’m doing this for our shared labor and delivery experience.

Using my “why” to set hydration goals

Adequate hydration has always been something I’ve struggled with. I’m not fond of water, flavored water is even worse, I don’t have a habit of drinking anything throughout the day, I like coffee (dehydrator), and I don’t eat many fruits and veggies (though I’ve definitely improved upon this in my adulthood).

The times when I historically have been most successful at drinking water include:

  1. When I had a lull in my projects during my college internship and drinking water was something to do to fill the time (seriously, I drank water out of boredom)
  2. At restaurants when I’m waiting for my food to arrive, and again, drinking water is a way to fill the time (again, drinking water out of boredom)
  3. That one time when I had a UTI and couldn’t get a doctor appointment until the next day, and in my pursuit of relief, I latched onto an idea from Dr. Google that drinking water could flush the bacteria out and I drank water all day long like it was my freaking job (Which worked, by the way. By the time I got to my doctor appointment, my test was negative, and since my symptoms strongly indicated a UTI, the doctor said I likely had one and cleared it myself. Buh-BAM!)

So… apparently I am best at drinking water when I want to stop physical pain and boredom. If my “why” is centered around childbirth and my biggest hydration avoider seems to be avoiding discomfort, I think I can work with this.

After a quick consultation with the Internet on how adequate hydration affects pregnancy, labor, and delivery, I’ve come up with this list of how drinking more water can support my “why”.

  1. Decrease risk of UTI (which being pregnant auto-increases my risk of and I know from experience this will help)
  2. Prevent constipation (another common symptom associated with pregnancy and increased iron such as from the prenatal vitamins. Plus, there’s that whole dreaded postpartum poop that every pregnant person hears horror stories of)
  3. Prevent headaches (I’m prone to migraines and saw a serious up-tick in them during my first trimester.)
  4. Increase energy and stamina.
  5. Minimize joint and muscle pain.
  6. Prevent pregnancy complications including neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, premature labor. (American Pregnancy Association)
  7. May decrease length of labor by 1.5 hours and decrease risk of Cesarean (Evidence Based Birth)

I’m doing this for my baby, I’m doing this for me, I’m doing this for our shared labor and delivery experience.

There are countless benefits to getting enough water, but by curating my list of reasons so that they more specifically align with my biggest current motivator, I anticipate more success than if I continued trying to drink water to clear my adult acne (something I also would like but time has shown that’s not enough of a motivator for me).

Hydration goals

Now for the goals!

  1. Make a habit of tracking my water intake daily by using a mobile app with water tracking reminder.
  2. Build up to 100oz of water per day (this goal may be adjusted depending on how my body feels with this amount and whether my pee color indicates that I’m overhydrated or still underhydrated.)

Annnnd that’s enough. I might have to break down that second goal into mini goals (like drink a glass of water every morning first thing when I wake up) so that I’m not chugging so much water at the end of the day that I’m peeing all night and feeling water-logged, but this is what I’m starting with.

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