icon-arrow-down icon icon-arrow-fill-down icon icon-arrow-next icon icon-arrow-prev icon icon-tag-close icon
Should I stick to bottled water?
Q: Is bottled water safer than tap water during pregnancy?
A: In recent years, there have been concerns that contaminants in tap water could pose risks during pregnancy. Tap water varies from region to region and even from day to day in the same district. Water supplies may be contaminated with chlorine related byproducts, solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals such as lead.

Some studies suggest that pregnant women who consume water containing high levels of trihalomethanes – byproducts formed by the reaction of chlorine with decomposing plant material – have higher rates of miscarriage. Lead has been linked to miscarriage and preterm delivery. Other chemical contaminants may increase the risk of stillbirth.

Scientists are not in agreement about these conclusions, and there are research studies that back up the safety of tap water. While scientists debate the safety of these chemicals in the public water supply, some women feel more comfortable drinking bottled or filtered water.

You should know that bottled water is not necessarily better than tap water and may not be collected from mountain peaks and glaciers, as some of their brand names imply. Federal regulations only require that bottled water meet the standards set for tap water. Also, the cost of drinking eight to 16 cups of bottled water a day can add up.

There are several ways to improve your water. Always use cold tap water that has been running for 30 to 60 seconds to flush out lead that can leach out from pipes and plumbing fixtures. Refrigerate your water in an open container for several hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate.

Water filters are another option for families. You can buy pitchers with filters that remove most of the impurities from water. If you prefer a longer lasting and more effective method of reducing contaminants, purchase a carbon containing water filter system that attaches to your faucet. A good choice is a high-quality, solid block, activated carbon (SBAC) filtration system with a submicron pore size. These systems reduce most of the chlorine, chlorine byproducts, pesticides, microorganisms and lead. You could notice a substantial improvement in the look and taste of your water.

If you have concerns about the water in your area, contact your local water supplier or health department and have your water tested for contaminants.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist