by Amy Goblirsch, RD
I found Ultima long before my journey to motherhood began. For the past 3 years, at least according to Amazon, I have been using Ultima Replenisher to fuel my workouts and increase my water intake. You may think that as an RD that I know the importance of staying hydrated (which I do!) and that I would easily meet my hydration needs daily. I’ll admit that prior to finding Ultima my water intake was crap. Plain water to me is boring. I need flavor. When I found an option that used organic stevia for sweetness, contained electrolytes and minerals, and was zero calories — it was a match made in heaven. Not only did Ultima help me reach my water intake daily but it was also an option that I started turning to more and more during marathon training. I liked that I was able to find something that wasn’t laden down with sugar or unnecessary calories that are abundant in many sports drinks.
Flash forward about 2 years after finding Ultima; I became pregnant and was even more hyper-aware of my hydration status. Not only are water needs increased during pregnancy to support circulation but it can also help prevent constipation – a common complaint many pregnant women have.
During my pregnancy (with my OBGYN’s support) I ran up until two days before I delivered. I ended up meeting and exceeding my goal of running 1,000 miles during the pregnancy. A goal that many friends and family members thought was crazy! Many of these miles were logged during a very hot and humid summer. Not only were my hydration needs increasing due to the pregnancy and running status but I also needed to make sure that I was replacing electrolytes that were lost. My husband was key to me staying hydrated. He would immediately make me an Ultima upon finishing a run, something he still does today, and make sure that I had finished it before I headed off to work. He would also text me reminders to make sure that I was drinking enough throughout the workday; this proved to be very helpful and only slightly annoying.
During my pregnancy, even with running almost up until the day I delivered, I didn’t have issues with swelling. Between the heat during the summer and being on my feet for long periods of time between work and running, I was at a higher risk for swelling. Although many factors can determine if a woman who is pregnant deals with swollen ankles and other body parts, I know that being on top of my hydration status played a big role in greatly limiting the swelling.
Transitioning from being pregnant to postpartum was a huge adjustment. Not only was I navigating how to be a mom but I was also attempting to exclusively breastfeed. The later part turned out to be more difficult than I ever expected. I have a great support system from family, friends, health care providers, and a lactation consultant that helped me navigate this new venture.
If you talk to any woman who has breastfed, chances are they will mention the extreme thirst that is triggered while breastfeeding. I had heard of this but was still taken aback the first time that I experienced it. I’m pretty sure I nicely yelled at my husband to get me the biggest and coldest glass of water while I was nursing our son. Taking care of a newborn and figuring out postpartum bliss doesn’t leave a lot of time for a new mom to eat or even drink. I got in the habit of leaving water in the nursery and another one on the couch, my two nursing spots so the water was never too far away.
I have a goal of exclusively breastfeeding until we reach his first birthday. This means that I can’t fall back into my old habits of slacking in the water department. Drinking excess water is not associated with an increase in milk production as some believe, but dehydration is associated with a decrease in milk production. Not only is it important to me to stay hydrated to make sure I am able to continue to exclusively breastfeed but also because the symptoms of dehydration are not going to help me be the best mom that I can be.
When my OBGYN cleared me to run again at my postpartum checkup I did a little happy dance! I was scared to run again but I couldn’t wait to hit the pavement again as it was much needed for the mental clarity and a little me time. I talked to a lactation consultant about how to make sure that I was able to keep my supply up while returning to running. I had heard previously (google is not always your friend) that some women will experience a drop in supply when returning to exercise. My lactation consultant eased my fears and reassured me that as long as I was staying hydrating and eating enough to support running and breastfeeding that I had nothing to worry about. I have been back to running for approximately 5 weeks postpartum and have not noticed any decrease in my supply nor any signs of dehydration.
As a new mom coffee has become a necessity. Prior to becoming pregnant, I was drinking coffee 3-4 times a week and now I consume it daily. Some days it can take me 5 minutes to drink my coffee and other days 3 hours to finish the one cup. During the days it would take hours to finish a cup, I knew I was not drinking enough water as my focus was only on the coffee. I made a deal with myself that before I could have my coffee that I needed to consume 25oz of Ultima to make sure that I am starting the day off hydrated. I know I am now starting the day off on the right foot and am still able to get a boost of caffeine.
Take it from this dietitian and nutrition coach for a running company: being hydrated is much more than just drinking water. Yes, water is an important aspect of staying hydrated but there are times that replacing electrolytes also needs to be taken into consideration. As summer approaches I know that I will be turning to my favorite electrolyte replacement drink to continue to support my running and breastfeeding journey.
Throughout my time from dog mom to human mom, a few things have been constant: running and Ultima. I’m not sure if I could have made it through the past two marathon training cycles, smashing a huge 18 minute PR in the marathon, growing a human, and now exclusively breastfeeding my baby boy without the help of Ultima. I know that if I am having a bad day in regards to water intake that I can mix myself an Ultima and get myself back on track.
Amy Goblirsch is a Registered Dietitian based in the Twin Cities Metro Area. Amy works as a dietitian in public health and runs a private nutrition practice in which she serves athletes in Minnesota and virtually. Amy is passionate about sports nutrition and enjoys educating her clients on how to lead balanced lifestyles. Connect with Amy: @the_running_dietitian @run4prs.dietitian