Ah, water—the elixir of life. It keeps our bodies hydrated and healthy—supporting our digestion, oxygenation, and cell efficiency. No wonder so many people are walking around clutching water bottles. Drinking plenty of water is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
As a pregnant woman, you especially need to stay hydrated. The water you drink carries nutrients through your blood to the baby, and initially it also supplies the liquid needed for the amniotic fluid in the womb. Remember that your placenta is providing approximately one cup of water needed each hour to replenish the amniotic fluid in the womb. And for your own sake, water helps flush out the body systems and dilute your urine, which helps you prevent the urinary tract infections so common later in pregnancy. In addition, oddly enough, the more water you drink, the less likely you are to retain water and end up with swollen ankles.
So listen to your body and drink whenever you begin to feel thirsty, and even before you feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty you may already be behind on your optimal fluid intake. But drink green. Some sources of fluids contain impurities that pregnant women should avoid, so before you quench that thirst, take some time to consider what you’re drinking. Check the labels on bottled water and filter your tap water:
- When drinking bottled water, two good choices are those labeled “purified water” or “sterile water.” Purified water can come from any source, but must be treated to meet the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) definition of “purified,” meaning that it is free of all chemicals; it may also be free of microbes if it is further treated by distillation or reverse osmosis. Sterile water can come from any source, but must be treated to meet the USP standards and therefore be free from all microbes.
- Bottled water may be treated using a number of different techniques, including filtration, ozonation (disinfecting water using ozone) or ultraviolet (UV) light treatment. The water bottle label should state the source and treatment method.28 If you want more detailed information on any contaminants that may remain in your bottled water, contact the bottler and ask if and how the water is tested for contaminants and ask for the latest testing results.
- Your home tap water can also be filtered with a number of in-home systems, including distillation, reverse osmosis, and micron filtration. See Chapter Four and the “The Kitchen” in the Green Information section at the back of the book for more details.
Caffeine and Pregnancy
Coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate—for some, these are gifts from the gods, enriching each day with joy for the taste buds and a reprieve from fatigue. But to the unborn baby, they could become the bearers of a potentially harmful caffeine overload. If your fetus could talk, he would certainly ask you to be careful about too many caffeinated products.
Caffeine easily passes through the placenta into the amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood and into the unborn baby. There the developing fetus sustains higher levels of caffeine than his mother because of an immature metabolism.
And it’s not just that morning cup of java that gives the fetus a jolt. Caffeine is a stimulant present in many foods and beverages and in some medications. ....read more