Whether you are a pregnant mom-to-be, a breastfeeding mom, a mom mixing baby formula, or a mom cooking for your child, there are many things you should consider with regards to you and and the health of your child. Below we will go through the do’s and don’t’s as it relates to how tap water can play a role in the health of you and your child.
Should I Be Drinking Tap Water While Pregnant?
First and foremost, staying sufficiently hydrated during your pregnancy should be one of your utmost priorities. Hydration allows the body to perform all functions more smoothly, including brain functions, kidney functions and digestive functions, which in turn provides a healthier environment for your little one to grow and thrive. Many women turn to bottled water their pregnancy to avoid the various chemicals and contaminants found in their municipal tap water supplies. This leads to destruction of the environment as the bottles are put into landfills once they are discarded, and in many instances are actually leaching other contaminants into the water because of the plastics they are stored in. As we’re sure you know by now there are thousands chemicals and contaminants found in almost every tap water supply across the world and some of these might have an affect on the development of your child.
Should I Be Mixing My Childs Formula With Tap Water?
The short answer is no. While most tap water is safe, there are three main chemical concerns in using tap water for babies: the presence of fluoride, lead, and/or nitrates. Fluoride is added to over 75% of municipal tap water supplies in the United States. When babies consume excess fluoride, they can develop white markings or streaks on their teeth called enamel fluorosis. It is best to use filtered water (using a filter that removes Fluoride, Lead and Nitrates) when mixing you babies formula in order to ensure that the mixture is clean and safe.
What Chemicals and Contaminants in Tap Water Can Affect my Child?
Manganese and Iron:
In a recent study, the effects of manganese and iron in drinking water on developing fetuses were studied. Manganese and iron are found in some drinking water supplies, and they are the part of the water that may cause reddish-brown stains on your household items, such as your bathtub or sink. Water with these ions is called hard water, and in general, is not at all harmful to consume. According to the study, though, these compounds in drinking water might actually cause lower birth weight in babies that were exposed to them. The low birth weight was not associated with preterm delivery. Babies chronically exposed to these compounds through their mothers drinking water reached full term but were smaller than average. Low birth weight can have many negative effects on a child throughout the duration of his or her life, including lower IQ’s, weight problems, and generally poor health. 1
Another contaminant to be cognizant of is Lead. One of the most serious toxins, lead gets into tap water when lead pipes that bring water to your neighborhood or that are in your home corrode, leaching lead into the water. We all very likely heard of the issues facing Flint, Michigan due to the prevalent Lead in their pipe systems. Pipe corrosion is more likely to occur when your water has high acidity or low mineral content, and houses built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes. Lead exposure during pregnancy and childhood has been associated with reduced cognitive function, lower IQ and increased attention-related behavioral problems. Because Lead is a heavy metal it is impossible to remove from your water with a proper filtration device. Boiling water with Lead in it only increases the prevalence of the contaminant.
Herbicides and Pesticides:
Herbicides and Pesticides are ever-prevalent in the current media because of the growing knowledge of the affects of them on the human body. Organic fruits and vegetables are making their way to every corner of the world. Because of the treatment of our crops with these dangerous chemicals, much of the water supply is being tainted and contaminated. With many of these chemicals now proven to cause cancer in adults, some evidence suggests drinking pesticide-contaminated water also increases risk of reduced fetal growth. The Clearly Filtered Affinity Filtration Technology removes 99.99% of herbicides and pesticides from your water supply.
This metal contaminant can enter the water supply from natural deposits in the earth or from industrial pollution. Elevated arsenic levels in private wells may come from agricultural pollution. High levels of arsenic during pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, birth defects and preterm birth.
Microorganisms and bacteria:
Bacteria and cysts such as E. coli and Giardia can potentially infiltrate a city’s water supply or your neighborhood well water through sewage or animal waste contamination. These cause severe gastrointestinal illness, which can be more dangerous for moms-to-be and/or children, whose immune systems are suppressed. Many times there is no warning sign when levels of bacteria are at levels that are unsafe. Most water filtration systems do not tackle bacteria and cysts which is one f the many features that separates Clearly Filtered from the rest. Clearly Filtered removes 99.99% of Bacteria and Cysts to keep you and your family prepared for everything.
Obviously, this does not mean you should stop drinking water altogether during your pregnancy. Try finding out what the contamiant content of the water from your tap is. If the content is low, continue drinking it as you normally would. If you’re worried about the amount of chemicals or contaminants in your water, or are unable to find out what the content is, consider purchasing a quality water filter. This is the route usually recommended by a doctor as well. As an expectant mother, the last thing you want to do is hinder your child’s development. Drinking water and staying well hydrated for the duration of your pregnancy is very important, so making sure the water you’re consuming is clean and safe for you and your baby should be a priority.
1. R. Grazuleviciene et al: Effects of Elevated Levels of Manganese and Iron in Drinking Water on Birth Outcomes. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Volume 18 Issue 5 April 2009