Filtered Water and Pregnancy: What Type of Water Filter Should I Use?
by Peter Lombardi
Quality Specialist, Consultant
> 4 min read
Even though the quality of tap water across the US is considered safe by general standards, it’s a good idea to invest in a water filter during pregnancy.
There have been some cases raising concerns about the quality of tap water in different cities. Tap water may contain small amounts of lead, pesticides, and other kinds of chemicals.
During a period as critical as pregnancy, it’s essential to drink clean, safe water. Even though the level of toxic substances in tap water is generally low, using a high-quality water filter either on the faucet or on a pitcher can effectively reduce any possible risks.
HERE ARE OTHER QUESTIONS THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE ABOUT WATER:
What Are Harmful Substances in Tap Water?
In general, tap water in the US is considered safe. In recent years, there have been some public concerns about the quality of tap water across the country. There are three common contaminants your home tap water may contain, among others. These are lead, disinfection byproducts, and pharmaceuticals.
Lead in Drinking Water
It is common, especially in older homes, for the pipes that deliver water to your tap to be made of lead. Lead is a highly toxic substance, and it can mix with the water supply when there’s corrosion in pipes. This is especially common in areas with acidic water or low mineral content.
In 1986 the United States mandated that plumbers use lead-free solders. If you built your house before that time, there’s a higher chance your home has lead pipes, or at the minimum, lead soldering between them. In some studies, lead in water has been associated with cognitive and attention-related disorders.
Chlorine is one of the main chemicals that municipalities add to water for disinfection purposes. It plays an essential role in killing bacteria and viruses and protecting people from waterborne diseases such as cholera or typhoid. In theory, the amount of chlorine used to clean public water in each country is carefully regulated.
However, some researchers have drawn the public’s attention to some potential dangers of using chlorine in the water. The problem is what are called disinfection byproducts. When using chlorine to disinfect water, it mixes with tiny organic compounds producing harmful byproducts, known as Trihalomethanes (THMs).
These by-products produce free radicals in the body that cause damage to cells, and there’s a growing amount of research that associates THMs with a higher risk for some cancers. Some studies suggest a negative relationship between THMs and pregnancy, especially between the first and second trimesters.
Pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and microplastics are the other chemical substances often found in tap water that raise concerns for pregnant women.
Why Tap Water Could Be Harmful During Pregnancy
All these chemicals can harm the development of a baby during pregnancy. Even though tap water in the United States is generally considered safe, there’s enough evidence available to suggest these contaminants in drinking water could be harmful to pregnant mothers.
It’s especially problematic if the water a pregnant woman drinks is harmful because it’s vital to stay hydrated during pregnancy for both the mother and the baby. The female body needs water to create the amniotic fluid that protects the baby for nine months. The body also needs clean water to carry healthy nutrients and oxygen to the baby. During pregnancy, sugary drinks, coffee, and alcohol should be avoided, and drinking pure filtered water is the best hydration option.
How to Make Sure You Are Drinking Clean Water
Filtering water is a convenient and affordable way of cleaning the water in your home. When shopping for water filters, there are several different types to consider. The main problem with bottled water are the microplastics that are likely to leach into the water if the bottles sit for too long or are exposed to high temperatures.
Pitcher filtration is one of the most convenient and affordable options. The pitcher will slowly filter the tap water, and you can chill it in the fridge before drinking. One issue is that many pitcher filters are pretty basic, and they don’t eliminate heavy metals. Before buying, make sure you read about what substances the filter eliminates. Some brands with many positive customer reviews are Pur or Berkey.
Another similar option is a water dispenser and filter. These units can carry more significant amounts of water and are a practical option for a family or continuous use throughout the day. Make sure you choose an option that eliminates lead, copper, chlorine, and other chemicals. You can find more water filters on our in-depth buying guide.
A faucet filter is another convenient option for addressing filtered water and pregnancy concerns. The filter fits right on your kitchen faucet, providing many advantages. The main benefit is that you don't have to wait for a pitcher to filter all the water. You can simply turn on your tap and enjoy unlimited filtered water instantly. It’s also a lot more convenient to have the filter on the faucet for preparing quick infusions or washing vegetables.
Carbon Block Filters
An excellent type of filter to look for is a carbon block filter. These can filter out tiny particles of metals and other harmful substances. The carbon itself filters substances and attracts pollutants, increasing the filter’s effectiveness.
Carbon block filters will eliminate almost everything harmful in your water, from heavy metals to pesticides. It’s possible to buy them as a pitcher, small travel filter, or faucet filters.
Under-The-Sink Water Filter
When thinking about filtered water and pregnancy, an under-the-sink water filter is an excellent choice. This option tends to be more expensive than above the sink models, but it’s very effective at eliminating all possible toxic substances from your tap water. High-quality under-the-sink filters will cost you around $400-$500.
This type of filter cleans the water that comes through your pipes into the sink. It’s a water filter that improves your tap water quality in every conceivable way, removing pollutants and enhancing the taste. These units are relatively small and fit nicely below the sink, so you don’t have to sacrifice any counter space.
Choosing a Water Filter For Health During Pregnancy
One of the most important things to watch for when choosing a water filter is ensuring it’s NSF certified. NSF International is an organization that protects the quality of consumer’s food and water.
Ensure you read the product’s description on the manufacturer’s website to verify which pollutants the filter eliminates before buying. As a general rule, more expensive filters provide higher water quality.
About the Author
Peter is a Los Angeles based water quality specialist, and works as a surveyor for businesses and communities looking to be informed and active about the quality of their water. He shares his expertise with 64 oz. to ensure everything is accurate, and to prevent the spread of misinformation about water contaminants.