The Nation's Health + WATER AND PREGNANCY

Health Tips: WATER AND PREGNANCY

While it is always a good idea to keep the body hydrated, there are certain times when changes in the body call for more water. One of these times is during pregnancy. Water can be the answer to alleviating many side effects of pregnancy, aid in preparing the body for these physiological changes, and just overall make mommy and baby healthier.

Water is an important part of pregnancy. The fluid acts as the body's transportation system, and carries nutrients through the blood to the baby. Also, flushing out the system and diluting urine with water prevents urinary tract infections, which are common in pregnancy.

Perhaps the biggest reason to drink water however is to keep the body hydrated. Dehydration in pregnant women can be very serious. Hormones (gotta love those hormones!) change the way women store water during pregnancy, so they begin to retain water, and drinking plenty of water combats that. Much of that water is used in the amniotic sack. Amniotic fluid alone needs to replenish itself every hour by using roughly a cup of water stored in the body. Replacing that water will insure the fetus is protected within the womb.

Since the blood volume increases to nearly double by the eighth month of pregnancy, it is necessary to drink even more water to compensate. Thicker blood can lead to hypertension and other cardiovascular problems, as discussed on other areas of this Website.

Because dehydration can cause contractions, lack of water in the third trimester can also cause premature labor. Premature labor can have many health risks to the newborn baby. However, some cases of premature labor have been stopped just by giving the mother enough water to re-hydrate her body.

Pregnant women should be sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is in addition to the normal intake of other recommended foods. The benefits of drinking water during pregnancy include healthier skin, less acne, washing away of unnecessary sodium, less chance for pre-term labor or miscarriage and better bowel movements. Drinking water can, believe it or not, also help prevent that nausea known as morning sickness, as doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluid between meals.

Drinking water for health benefits of the mother and baby are evident. Doctors in fact ask mothers to steer clear of diuretics like caffeine and alcohol, so water is the obvious alternative for fluid intake. Also, since doctors often 'prescribe' exercise in pregnant women, fluids will be lost through perspiration. As we know, pregnant or not, those fluids also need to be replaced.

Now that we know how important it is to drink water during pregnancy, let's take a look at some contaminants that when found in excess in water supplies, could have devastating effects. There has been some evidence that chlorinated tap water can cause miscarriages and other problems with pregnancy. Nitrate can cause blue baby syndrome and lead can cause slow mental development. Pharmaceutical drugs found in tap water can affect the growth and development of the fetus. That said, since water is so crucial to not only the mother, but the new baby as well, it is vital to make sure drinking water is safe!

When it comes to your health, the quality of your drinking water is just as important as the quantity.

According to recent news and reports, most tap and well water in the U.S. are not safe for drinking due to heavy industrial and environmental pollution. Toxic bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals routinely penetrate and pollute our natural water sources making people sick while exposing them to long term health consequences such as liver damage, cancer and other serious conditions. We have reached the point where all sources of our drinking water, including municipal water systems, wells, lakes, rivers, and even glaciers, contain some level of contamination. Even some brands of bottled water have been found to contain high levels of contaminants in addition to plastics chemical leaching from the bottle.

A good water filtration system installed in your home is the only way to proactively monitor and ensure the quality and safety of your drinking water. Reverse osmosis water purification systems can remove 90-99% of all contaminants from city and well water to deliver healthy drinking water for you and your family.

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