We all need water to live. No matter who you are, it is important to stay hydrated at all times. However, it is perhaps most important for women who are pregnant to always be properly hydrated. Drinking sufficient amounts of water during pregnancy can help alleviate many side effects, aid to prepare the body during the physiological processes, and will help keep both the mother and baby happier and healthier overall.
There is no scientific doubt that water plays an absolutely critical role in the body during pregnancy. The life-giving fluid functions as a transportation system for the body, which carries nutrients through the circulatory system to the developing baby. Water is also critical for replenishing fluids in the amniotic sack, which is necessary to ensure that the baby is properly protected during its development.
In addition to the many benefits of adequate water intake for the growing baby, a mother can also receive health benefits from being consistently hydrated at all stages of the pregnancy. By drinking at least 8 large glasses of water a day, a pregnant woman can avoid urinary tract infections, which are all too common during pregnancy. It can also help reduce hypertension and other cardiovascular problems that are a result of insufficient water. Dehydration during pregnancy has also been identified as a cause of premature contractions, which could result in a premature birth during the third trimester.
Is Your Drinking Water Good Enough?
All of these reasons underscore the importance of drinking adequate amounts of water during pregnancy, but what is just as important to consider is the quality of the water that is being consumed. While hydration is absolutely vital during pregnancy, any of the health benefits could be negated or exposure to serious health effects could be risked if the water that is being ingested is not of the highest quality possible. Particularly due to the fact that such high quantities of water are required during pregnancy, a mother and her developing baby are at an even higher risk of negative health impacts of poor quality drinking water. A developing baby is extremely sensitive to chemicals and contaminants, especially during the early stages when its organs are still developing.
One of the biggest risks to pregnant women and their unborn children is water that has been treated by chlorine. Chlorinated tap water is extremely common in most major cities around the world as it is one of the most prevalent methods used to disinfect drinking water. Although there are typically limits to the amount of chlorine that can be used to treat drinking water, these limits usually fail to consider how chlorine reacts with organic materials that are contained within the water as well. When water that contains organic matter, such as runoff from a farm or lawn, is mixed with chlorine, it can create compounds known as trihalomethanes, or THMs, that have been potentially linked as cause of cancer, miscarriage, and other birth defects.
What Are Some Potential Contaminants In Drinking Water?
Although there is still some scientific debate around the exact connections between chlorinated by-products in drinking water and its health impacts, the risk and potential health effects of poor quality drinking water are a real concern. In addition to chlorine, there are many other possible contaminants in the water that comes out of the tap.
Just a few of the contaminants that could cause negative health effects during pregnancy include:
Lead – This is one of the most serious toxins that could be in your drinking water. Homes that were built before the 1990s have a much higher risk of lead contamination in the water due to pipe corrosion and the higher frequency of leads pipes used to transport the water. Ingesting water contaminated with lead during pregnancy has been linked to lower IQs, decreased cognitive functions, and behavioral problems.
Bacteria – Sewage and animal waste can potentially contaminate drinking water and increase the chance of exposure to bacteria like E. coli, Giardia, noroviruses, that can cause serious health effects to expecting mothers, particularly because they have lowered immune systems at that time.
Pesticides – Runoff from lawns or agricultural sites can contaminate water with pesticides and other chemicals. Ingesting this type of water has been shown to increase the risk of reduced fetal development.
Industrial Chemicals – Homes located close to industrial areas could be at risk of contamination from a wide variety of industrial chemicals. Depending on the chemical, these can cause serious damage to a developing fetus.
Water quality varies from region to region, and there are many potential factors that could influence the state of the water in your own home. This means it is important to test or evaluate the quality of water before drinking it. If you suspect your water of being below safety standards for ingestion, then there are some methods of purifying it.
Methods For Purifying Drinking Water
Install A Water Filtration System – This is probably the most effective and comprehensive method for purifying your drinking water. Depending on the water filtration system, it can remove a wide variety of contaminants, as well as soften the water. We recommend the Max Pack for complete water treatment, which combines the Water Max Water Softener and Whole Home Filter with the H6000 Reverse Osmosis System.
Bottled Water – Another method to avoid tap water is using bottled water. Bottled water is already treated and is typically safe for consumption. However, be aware that not all bottled water is necessarily clear of impurities. Some bottled water is really just tap water in a bottle. (Always do your research before selecting a brand). Also, when combining 100% of bottled water savings with other money-saving benefits of water treatment, it makes sense to treat your home water. This also saves the environment.
Boil The Water – If the contaminants in your water are bacterial, then boiling it before use can be an effective way of cleaning it. Boiling water will also get rid of high concentrations of chlorine as well. However, this method will not be effective if you are dealing with lead, arsenic, or nitrate contamination.
Let It Stand – This is an effective method for getting rid of chlorine in water. Simply allow it to stand for 24 hours before use to give the chlorine time to evaporate out of the water. However this will not clear the water of other impurities, nor is it convenient to let water stand for 24 hours before use.
(This article is for information purposes only an does not constitute medical advice. Expected mothers should consult their physician for optimal health.)