How water has helped me -
Although this may be a pretty obvious thing that water helps with, I didn't realize just how much water I needed to be drinking throughout the day to really help with it (if not make it disappear altogether). They say that if you take your body weight and divide it in half, that's how many fluid ounces of water you're supposed to drink a day. I'm currently at 164 (with no clothes, in the morning) so I should be drinking a minimum of 82 ounces of water per day. I've found to get rid of my swelling I need to drink about 30-40 ounces of water every 2-3 hours. While I'm at work during the week I have a 40oz. jug on my desk that I set "goals" as to when it needs to be finished by. For example, it's 9am, I just finished my first 40oz of the day, I fill it up and tell myself I can't eat my lunch until it's empty again. This works wonders for me - until I leave work and I no longer have that 40oz jug staring at me. During the weekend and at night I bloat up like a balloon due to my body not getting the amount of water it's used to. I need to get better about finding a way to drink while not at work and the solution might just be to buy another big jug for home. To avoid having to get up 8 times during the night to pee, I try to stop drinking any and all liquids past 6 or 7. This causes me to swell up pretty bad over night, which leads me to the next way water helps me...
2. Morning showers.
Most days I wake up in the morning so swollen from sleeping that it feels restricting to bend my fingers, yeah it's pretty bad. Since hot water makes swelling worse, I find that taking a colder shower than I normally would in the mornings helps significantly with my swelling. Not only does it help with the swelling, it also wakes me up REAL fast! Now, I'm not saying that I take frigid polar plunge showers in the morning, they're just not as hot as I normally like them. In other words - they don't get hot enough to fog up the mirrors or emit any type of steam.
Unfortunately we don't have a tub, but we do have a pool in our backyard, and especially since it's summer - there is nothing better than stripping down into practically nothing and just floating around. You are weightless. Forget the 40 pounds you've gained - in the water you don't have to do ANYTHING but breathe (and even that is technically only optional) Your back doesn't hurt, your arms don't weigh a ton, your feet aren't aching, you don't even have to hold up your head. You can even do this on your belly with the help of a few noodles if there's still too much pressure on your back. Seriously though - weightlessness during pregnancy is such a stress reliever and really helps your body to kind of fall back into alignment.
4. Relieving pain
Since I'm stubborn and don't take tylenol / aspirin (ever, not just because I'm pregnant) I have to find other ways to cope with any discomfort I'm having. A few different ways I've found have helped with my frequent back pain have been different yoga positions, specific prenatal exercises (pelvic rocks / tailor sitting), but mostly what has helped me is adjusting our shower head to the massage setting, rest my hands on the seat in the shower so that my belly is parallel to the floor and let the water beat down on my lower back. I feel so much better after that, and it had worked for other pains I've had as well like neck / shoulder tension, and even relieving the feeling you get after you have a night full of charlie horses.
Everyone has different ways to help them relax. For some it's music, for some it's silence, for me (depending on the level of pain / sickness) I am deeply relaxed by running water. I'm not talking the audio tapes of "crashing waves" or "running waterfalls" I'm talking live, running water. When I'm really not feeling well I find it helps me the most to go sit in the bathroom and run the shower. Sometimes I get in if there's a specific part of my body that hurts, but if I'm overall just having tummy issues or feeling sick I go sit in the bathroom and run the shower. If it works for me, it must work for others.
Although I could go on and on about the different benefits of water for pregnant women, I feel that those are MY top five ways in which water has helped me the most.