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Drinking Clean Water During Pregnancy Is Important

Updated on March 16, 2017
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Susette has a practical, lifelong interest in good physical & mental health, including the environment that sustains us all.

Drinking plenty of water is critical to having a healthy pregnancy.
Drinking plenty of water is critical to having a healthy pregnancy. | Source

A surprising number of problems in pregnancy can be traced to not drinking enough good, clean water. It sounds mundane, but water actually plays a critical role in pregnancy - from the ability to fertilize an egg to the ability to give birth. Consider these facts:

  • One third of a pregnant woman's weight gain consists of the baby (75% water), the placenta, and the amniotic sac filled with liquid. Another third consists of an increase in breast and other tissues, plus extra blood (95% water). The remaining third is for body fat and retained water.
  • Drinking plenty of water can prevent conditions like constipation, hemorrhoids, bladder infections, and excessive swelling - all common during pregnancy. (Mayo Clinic)
  • Drinking water needs to be as free from contaminants and chemicals as possible, e.g. purified in some way.

Here are many of the complications that can ensue when a prospective mother does not drink enough water to prevent them. Following that is a description of how water contributes to each stage of pregnancy, so you can see the proof of it.

Common Pregnancy Problems & Causes

Condition
Lack of Water
Improper Diet
Lack of Exercise
Stress
Anemia
 
x
 
 
Backache
x
 
x
 
Bleeding
x
 
 
x
Breech baby
x
 
x
 
Constipation
x
x
 
 
Cramps
x
 
 
x
Diabetes
x
x
 
 
Excessive heat
x
 
 
 
Excessive swelling
x
 
 
 
Faintness
x
x
 
x
Headaches
x
 
 
x
Hemorrhoids
x
x
 
 
Indigestion/heartburn
x
x
 
x
Itching
x
 
 
x
Nauseousness
x
x
 
x
Overweight
x
x
x
 
Premature delivery
x
x
x
 
Tiredness
x
 
x
 
Urinary tract infection
x
 
 
 
Varicose veins
x
 
x
 

What is your experience?

How many problems from the chart have you had while pregnant?

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The role water plays in pregnancy is similar to what it does for the body as a whole: Provides transportation of nutrients and oxygen, conducts electrical messages, keeps the body cool, dilutes chemicals and toxins. Now let's look specifically at the role water plays in pregnancy, starting from fertilization of the egg through the actual birth.

[Note: Be aware that most doctors are taught how to "fix" a body that is already broken or hurting; not the specifics of how the body works or how to keep it healthy.]

Stages of Pregnancy

Fertilization - Pre-pregnancy

One doesn't normally think of water as having anything to do with fertilization, but . .

Q: How does sperm get to an egg?

A: With a powerful ejaculation of liquid - made up mostly of water.

If a man hasn't been drinking enough water, he will not have a powerful enough stream to send his sperm the distance. He may not even be able to "get it up" if he's too water deprived.

Meanwhile, the woman should have enough water for her reproductive organs to jump into action when a connection is made. Her vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes should be moist enough to let the man's fluid slide by on the way up (rather than catching on dry walls) and to let the egg slide down to the uterus, once it's fertilized.

If one partner is lacking, the chances for pregnancy may be reduced, but if both are lacking, fertilization cannot take place.This may be rare, but it is still a good idea for both partners to make sure they drink enough clean water regularly, if they want to reproduce.

A male sperm has made its way through the dangers of the vagina and uterus and up into a fallopian tube to penetrate a female egg.
A male sperm has made its way through the dangers of the vagina and uterus and up into a fallopian tube to penetrate a female egg. | Source

The Zygote Stage - Day 0 to 5

When sperm meets egg under the right conditions, they join themselves together and begin to grow. We call the growing organism a "zygote." Each cell of the zygote is made of a combination of male and female DNA. Each cell reproduces its own self, until the zygote is big enough to fold over, as it travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus. This process takes about five days.

During the previous month, the woman's uterus has been building up its interior lining (endometrium) to make it nice and thick, in case an egg gets "hot." If she has enough water in her body, the endometrium will be rich and moist enough to catch the zygote as it slides past, in which case the zygote will bury itself into the lining and start hooking up with nutrients there.

If the woman hasn't been drinking enough water, the lining will be too thin to catch the zygote, and it will slide on by out of the body.

This diagram shows the route travelled by a zygote (fertilized egg) through the Fallopian tube on its way to the uterus. Note that the zygote has already started growing.
This diagram shows the route travelled by a zygote (fertilized egg) through the Fallopian tube on its way to the uterus. Note that the zygote has already started growing. | Source

The Embryo Stage - Day 5-7 to quickening

We change its name to "embryo" as soon as the zygote buries itself in the uterine lining. At that point, the woman's endometrium sends out zillions of alerts to the rest of her body, preparing it for pregnancy and also telling it not to attack the embryo.

These alerts are hormones transported by water in the blood. Her breasts start to swell and become tender, her skin clears itself out with moisture sweating from its surface, and she may become nauseous, as her body prepares to share food.

The embryo, meanwhile, is growing around the fold it made on the way down and cells are starting to differentiate into body parts and organs. The embryo forms an umbilical chord, from which it can feed, and a sac around it that fills with liquid. This is called an "amniotic sac" and is intended to cushion the growing organism from shock and allow it to move around without disturbing the mother much.

At about week six, the embryo's rudimentary brain begins to activate and the newly formed heart starts a weak beat. Blood (water filled with nutrients) starts to flow. Then the eyes, hair, and face start to form as the embryo floats in its amniotic sac filled with fluid.

From fertilization to the end of the embryo stage, the trip takes about 9 weeks. The embryo is just over 1" long. This very sensitive period is when the majority of natural miscarriages occur. Both bodies are sensitive to the right conditions and the right patterns of development for a healthy baby. If anything looks like it's going wrong, they will abort the project. The woman's body will shed her endometrium and the embryo with it, like she does with a normal period. This is a very common occurrence with all women.

Human Embryo - 8 Weeks Old

This embryo came from a spontaneous abortion. It is still surrounded by its amniotic sac, within which it floats.
This embryo came from a spontaneous abortion. It is still surrounded by its amniotic sac, within which it floats. | Source

The Fetus Stage - Week 9 to full term

When the embryo is formed enough to start moving, it enters the "fetus" stage. During this stage the brain is starting to create nerve pathways throughout the body, which is starting to twitch and twist in response. The organs continue to grow and specialize. The heartbeat is stronger, the digestive system begins to operate, the lungs are practicing breathing (without taking in air). At about week 20, movements are strong enough for the woman to feel them. This is called "quickening."

The body of the fetus, before birth, is more than 75% water. Bones are still soft, though they start to harden after about week 26. The fine hairs all over the body disappear, except for the head, where they become coarser. Movements are more purposeful. The continuously replenishing fluid in the amniotic sac allows for the fetus to move, to turn with the movements of the woman's body, and be protected from any direct hits.

By the end of this six month stage, organs and body parts are fully formed and most are functioning, although weight is still low. By week 37 the fetus is complete enough that it could be born and still live without major complications. Now it can be called a baby. According to Wikipedia, 30% of new birth deaths come from fetuses being born before 37 weeks.

Chemicals and Pregnancy

Crucial to bearing a healthy baby is minimizing the amount of chemical intake - from our air, food, and water. Avoid house sprays and paints, eat organically, and drink filtered water.

Full Term Pregnancy - Weeks 37 to birth (about week 42)

This stage is where the baby and mother prepare themselves for birth. The baby's circulatory system begins to shift away from the umbilical chord, from whence all nutrients and blood supply have been coming so far, readying itself to receive oxygen from the lungs, once the baby starts breathing. The lungs and nervous system complete their separation, while the lungs finalize themselves for breathing air.

The baby also puts on weight and gathers strength, moving more often and pushing harder. Within the soft, moist uterus, the baby turns itself head down in readiness for birth, aided by gravity (if the woman walks enough), dropping down in her belly, pressing against her bladder. This increases the woman's need to urinate, which increases her need for water even more.

Birth - Week 42 or thereabouts

Instead of berating the need to pee all the time as the baby presses hard against a woman's bladder, she could take this need as a signal that the baby is nearly ready to emerge. At this time, she should make sure she's drinking enough water to replace what's being peed out, and to help with the emergence.

For a baby to slide out of a woman's vagina during birth, the vagina needs to be moist. The baby's amniotic sac will break, thereby sending its fluid out the vagina and helping with the moisturizing. But birth will be hard, if the combined moisture is not enough.

Just-born baby with umbilical chord still attached. Note the purple hue to the hands and feet, which will change to pink, once the babe has breathed enough oxygen. The water on his skin is from the amniotic sac he just left.
Just-born baby with umbilical chord still attached. Note the purple hue to the hands and feet, which will change to pink, once the babe has breathed enough oxygen. The water on his skin is from the amniotic sac he just left. | Source

Note how a simple thing like drinking enough good quality water during pregnancy can make the whole process so much easier. Of course, these aren't the only complications that can arise, but why not eliminate these first, before worrying about others?

Any condition that does not respond to increased water intake might require sensible dietary changes, reasonable exercise, or the reduction of stress (emotional, mental, and physical). Once a pregnant woman has taken care of all of those, she can refer any problems remaining to a doctor.

Reference Sources:

Anatomica: The Complete Home Medical Reference
Anatomica: The Complete Home Medical Reference

This is a great encyclopedia containing easily understood descriptions of how the body works. Combined with what I already know from other sources and experimentation, this was my main source for this article.

 

Feel free to share pregnancy experiences with other readers below:

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent information and suggestions. I tend to believe this is stuff people don't think of when pregnant, but they should. Nice job!

    • watergeek profile image
      Author

      watergeek 3 years ago

      Thanks billybuc. I so often see information about a healthy diet for pregnant women, which includes drinking enough water, but hardly anything about why water is so important - water, not coffee (which is acid) or soft drinks (flavored by chemicals).

    • profile image

      Viney 2 years ago

      It's always a pleasure to hear from someone with expeetisr.

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