Growing up on rain water collected from our (spray free) farm, I've always been super fussy when it comes to the taste of my water. When staying at friends houses in town, or on trips up to the big smoke (Adelaide) I'd always take my own. When it came to living up here in rentals, I'd cringe every time I'd even have to rinse my mouth in the chlorinated water.
Over the years I've learnt just how important multiple factors are to ensure I am nourishing my body with healthy H2O. I'll give you a hint- it's not just about the taste.
Drinking clean, filtered water is of utmost importance for your health, particularly during your preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding stages of life.
According to Nutritionist and Water Hydration Specialist Kate Waterson...
Apart from all the essential bodily functions that water plays a role in, it is also needed for the following vital functions during pregnancy:
> Forms the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby. Supports the increase in blood plasma volume. Produces breast milk and is essential for good lactation.
> Ensures the vitamins and minerals you are consuming (through food and possibly supplements) are transported into your cells so your body (and baby) can effectively utilise them.
> Helps to keep your body temperature regulated.
To ensure that your kidneys, bowels and liver are working efficiently, it is important to stay hydrated so that your body can eliminate the toxins from your body and stay regular with bowel motions. Remember that your baby will be excreting toxins also and ensuring that these toxins are being sufficiently eliminated from your system is very important so as not to add increased strain on your baby’s liver and kidneys.
Staying hydrated may help to reduce brain fog and morning sickness. The normal signs of dehydration can be more pronounced when pregnant.
Morning sickness and fatigue, dizziness, brain fog and constipation are the most common symptoms.
Dehydration in the later stages of pregnancy (third trimester) can also cause contractions that can trigger pre-term labour.
Ok so we know how important water is, but aside from how much you should be drinking to nourish your body, what other factors are important to consider when choosing your water supply. Particularly in your child bearing stages of life.
Here are some examples of toxins found within water supplies, that you want to have removed through a filter before consumption.
Very old homes have lead pipes and lead painted roofs which can potentially wash into the home water supply. Dated houses also contain copper piping, as it is an easy metal to work with (to bend and weld) and has a resistance against rust.
Over the years we have become more informed about copper toxicity therefore new homes are now replaced with a cheaper plastic material called polyvinyl chloride (PVC), but introducing yet another health hazard.
Levels of copper, lead and contaminants from plastic materials can consequently be absorbed through the skin and consumed orally, with daily tap water use.
The main reason for avoiding Fluoride and Chlorine during your preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding journey, is their ability to reduce your uptake of the mineral iodine. Our soils are already very deficient in iodine and despite iodine fortified foods, alarmingly the iodine intake of 65% of pregnant women and 85% of lactating women is below the estimated average requirement for these critical life stages.2
Iodine is crucial for pregnancy health, as it is a major component of thyroid hormone, supporting both you and your baby’s thyroid hormone production. When an expecting Mums’ iodine status is even mild to moderately deficient, the thyroid health of baby is affected, and this low iodine may also contribute to neurological development and cognitive performance issues.3
Low levels of maternal iodine can contribute to lowered IQ in your baby and in extreme cases, mental retardation. To optimise both baby’s brain and thyroid health, it is important to supplement with iodine, but also minimise the toxins that can impact it’s absorption in your body.
Even if you are not in your preconception or pregnancy stages of life, Fluoride impacts the health and contributes to calcification of your brain's pineal gland. Amongst balancing your body's circadian rythym, your pineal gland regulates reproduction, sleep, moods, appetite, immune function and hormone production, including the crucial sleep hormone and antioxidant melatonin. The pineal gland is also referred to as your 'bullshit meter', playing an important role in your thought processes.
"...the pineal gland is associated with perception, thought, morality, intuition, and even clairvoyance. In fact, French philosopher René Descartes believed that the pineal gland housed the soul. In some cultures, the pineal gland is believed to be a portal to higher dimensions." Dr Christianne Northrup explains across at drnorthrup.com.
Chlorine is also an antibacterial, so if you are ingesting the fumes and water, it will affect your microbiome –the beneficial bacteria on your skin and within your gut. We know our good bugs play a major role in detoxification, digestion of your foods, building your immunity, supporting your brain and hormone health among much more. When you or your baby’s levels are under attack, this can contribute to health conditions throughout the body.
The gases released from chlorine are lung irritants, an eye and skin irritant and also contributes to topical skin conditions such as eczema.
Both fluoride and chlorine consumption (and absorption through bathing and regular swimming), is therefore something you want to avoid exposure to, especially throughout pregnancy.
Living’ spring water is naturally filtered by the earth and is my top pick when it comes to drinking water.
It is best to leave the plastic bottled spring water on the shelf however as this water will contain residues of plastic chemicals. The bottles with number 7 contain the harmful endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and other health damaging chemicals are found in containers with a number 1, 3 and 6. You will find these numbers within the recycling triangle on the bottom of plastic containers.
Even if they do not fall into the above categories, all plastic bottles contain chemicals which can leach into your water. Not to mention how damaging plastic bottles are for our environment.
If you must buy water, source it in BPA free casks or better still, glass.
If spring water is not an option for you, I recommend you invest in installing a quality water filter for your home. There are many different filtration systems available all at varying prices and efficiency. When sourcing a filter, look for one that will:
Chlorine, chloramines, fluoride, lead, cadmium, mercury, copper, aluminium, chloroforms, trihalomethanes (THM’s), MTBE’s, industrial poisons and petrochemicals, arsenic, pesticide residues and rust.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filtration will remove contaminants, however, strips the water of beneficial minerals in the process. If you already have a RO system, be sure to opt to re-mineralise the water and boost your daily mineral intake through a nutrient rich diet and colloidal mineral supplement.
My Personal Favourite (non affiliated) Water Filters along with guidance around how much to consume over your days, are found within my preconception health guide, Path To Conscious Conception and my pregnancy & fourth trimester course, Path To Glowing Mumma.
Just as important as what water you are drinking, is how you are storing it. Store your water (and food for that matter), in glass or ceramic. Water and food can become contaminated with toxins from the container it is stored in. Glass and ceramic are toxin free, keep our water cool and will not affect the magnetism of your water. Recycle your plastic water bottles, cups and jugs and swap toeither ceramic, glass or a quality stainless steel. Blue glass has the extra benefit of helping to enhance the energy of the water.
If you regularly brew up herbal teas, it will be worth investing in a glass kettle to avoid plastic chemicals and metals leeching into your cuppa.