©2018 Mahoning Valley Water Inc.  The Virtue of Water During Pregnancy "You Should Eat For Two"      Rarely, however, does anyone ever advise you to "drink for two".  Drinking water or any other type of fluid, is nonetheless one of the most important nutritional acts during pregnancy.  Water helps nearly every part of the human body to function, but this is even more critical during pregnancy.  A pregnant woman's body experiences dramatic changes, one of which is an increase in water weight.  As her water weight increases, so does her need for fluid intake.      Not only should the expectant mother drink fluids to help her body face its new challenge, but the fetus, too, needs fluids.  It is generally assumed that the body of an adult is 2/3's water.  But did you know that a fetus is composed of nearly 90% water?      Why Is Water Important For Pregnant Women?      Among the major challenges affecting the body of a pregnant woman, an increase in water gain is certainly the most spectacular.  A scientific study in 1980 revealed that, on average, water contributes to approximately 62% of the total weight gain at term (the remaining being 30% fat and 8% protein).  According to the study, most of the weight gain comes from expansion of maternal tissues, blood volume, extracellular fluid, fat stores and other tissues.      Felicia Bush, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and a registered dietician in Saint Paul, Minn., confirmed this study.  She estimated the overall weight gain to be an average 7 - 10 pounds, divided as follows: Three to four pounds due to an increase in blood volume and circulation (blood is considered to be 92% water). Two to three pounds due to retention of water in the body. Approximately two pounds of water coming from the formation of amniotic fluid, which surrounds the baby (amniotic fluid is 100% water).      According to Bush, water need increases mostly in early pregnancy, at a time when changes in metabolism are most important.      Water can also assist in reducing excessive swelling and the risk of bladder and kidney infection.  Terri Benitez, labor and delivery nurse at Northwest Hospital in Tucson, Ariz., mentioned that water can help to flush out excess sugar and salt levels in the urine, which generally increase during pregnancy. The Virtue Of Drinking Water      Drinking water during pregnancy can help a pregnant woman not only with the basic functions of her body, but it can also help her to feel better.  Fatigue, dizziness and mild disorientation are common dehydration symptoms described during pregnancy.  Simply increasing the amount of fluid intake can help to get rid of these malaises.  Extra water intake also helps to get rid of two common conditions during pregnancy, according to Bush: skin dryness and constipation. Water Versus Other Fluids      The good news is that all fluid intake does not have to come from plain water.  Pregnant women can count milk, which is two-thirds water, fruit, vegetable juices or soup as part of their fluid intake.  Water, however, comes first on the list of recommended beverages for pregnant women for one obvious reason: it is calorie free.  But is all water safe?      Because the immune system of women is weakened during pregnancy, expectant moms are more vulnerable to waterborne pathogens.  As a result, they should be very cautious about the quality of water they drink. Is Tap Water Safe?      There is no problem in drinking tap water as long as it is safe.  And, this is the case for most tap water in the United States.  However, the 1993 outbreak of cryptosporidium in Milwaukee's drinking water supplies brought extensive attention to the possibility of pathogenic microbe infection in tap water.  Cryptosporidiosis is known to cause severe gastroenteritis and can be a life threatening disease if contracted by immuno-supressed or immuno-compromised persons.  This includes pregnant women to a certain degree.      Two scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) pointed out that most of the data collected showed that filtration systems are effective for removing oocyst (an egg or spore carrying parasites) to a high degree, but that no system appears to be 100% effective in removing these oocysts.  They noted that chlorine is relatively ineffective in killing cryptosporidium  oocysts at dosages normally used in drinking water supplies.  The two water experts mentioned, however, that the use of point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) units can be part of the solution.      The Water Quality Association (WQA), an international trade organization representing the water quality improvement industry, notes that the simplest and most generally accepted technology for protecting against cryptosporidium is fine filtration.      Conventional fine filtration employing the following technologies can be utilized: carbon blocks, precoats, ceramics, microfiltration (micron and submicron), and semi-permeable membranes, including reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, and ultrafiltration.  Technologies using ultraviolet energy, ozone, distillation or halogenated resins did not prove to be effective.      If you have any doubt about the purity and safety of your drinking water, you can always check with your local USEPA or health department or have your water tested by an independent laboratory. by Virginia Drujob-Kippelen Water Conditioning & Purification MAHONING VALLEY WATER