Of paramount importance to humans, and every other living creature, is the perpetuation of the species. Some species simply lay eggs and very primitive ones will divide to make a new member, but most mammals develop the young inside the mother’s body for maximum protection and development. The more complex the creature, the longer will be the gestation, and generally the more ‘complete’ the infant will be. Human beings, for instance, have a gestation of 9 months, but the infant produced is actually completely helpless, unlike a baby cow or elephant. The reason for this is that the lion’s share of development has gone into producing our very complex brain.
When a woman is pregnant, she must take care to eat and drink only the healthiest foods to help assure that her child will be born strong and healthy. Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages, even in very limited amounts, are now frowned upon as they can cause a number of problems with fetal development, both big and small.
Probably, however, few women think that the water that they are using out of their tap could be doing every bit as much harm as alcohol or even street drugs. Few of us question the quality of our drinking and bathing water, but there are a number of dangers to the developing baby in nearly every water supply system.
Hidden Dangers in the Water
While drinking water may taste fine (except perhaps for the taste and smell of chlorine), there can be other contaminants in it that could affect the healthy development of the baby:
- Heavy metals, such as lead could be found in the water. Lead and mercury can affect the development of the brain and nervous system, as well as other organs.
- Chlorine breaks down into chloroform and chloramine (disinfection byproducts, or DBPs) fairly quickly and these can not only cause problems with the growth of the fetus, and later development of cancers. DBPs can also cause low birth weight, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
- Fluoride can also cause developmental problems for the fetus, including affecting the proper growth of the brain, neurological system and organs such as the liver and kidneys.
- Runoff from agricultural areas can result in pesticides entering the water supply. These toxins are associated with leukemia and cleft palate. Pesticides can also cause miscarriage.
- Nitrogen based fertilizers are also a serious problem for pregnant women and their unborn child. Nitrates impair the ability of the blood to transport oxygen, and will cause the ‘blue baby’ syndrome.
Water can be tested to find out what contaminants and pollutants are in your household water supply, but results will probably only confirm what you have suspected – your water supply is not safe.
Purify Your Home’s Water
The worries of expectant parents as concerns the quality and safety of their water can easily be laid aside by the use of filtering and purification equipment. Installation of water filters that will remove harmful elements from the water can be as simple as installing a faucet water filter or as complex as having a whole house water filter system installed. A whole house system will assure that every drop of water that is used in the home is completely safe.
Pregnant women should also be aware that the greatest danger from chlorine does not come from the water they drink, but from showering and bathing. Chloroform and chlorine gas are released during these activities and enter the body readily through the lungs. Chlorine can also be absorbed through the skin, and regardless of the form in which it enters the body, chlorine has no problem passing through the placenta to the fetus.
Shower water filters are very good at removing chlorine from the water, and bath water filters can either fit over the tub faucet or consist of a construct that is passed through the water to remove chlorine.