Possible dangers of drinking water during pregnancy

PCE in drinking water puts pregnancy at riskAs if pregnant women don't have enough to worry about, now a common contaminant in drinking water is something that pregnant women need to watch out for. A chemical called tetrachloroethylene (PCE) can cause stillbirths and other pregnancy complications. Basically, if you are pregnant and drinking water because heaven knows you need to stay hydrated without even knowing it, you might be setting yourself up for a stillbirth or some other issue. Ni lo mande Díos!

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Researchers at Boston University Medical Center released findings about PCE in drinking water and how it affects pregnant women. It all came about because pregnant women in Cape Cod, Massachusetts were having higher than normal rates of pregnancy complications. Researchers set out to find out why these poor women were twice as likely to have stillbirths, 1.35 times more likely to experience placenta abruption and be at high risk for vaginal bleeding. They couldn't find a cause until they looked into the drinking water. Because of their drinking water these women had high exposure to PCE.

Researchers said in a press release, "Our results suggest that prenatal PCE exposure is not associated with all obstetric complications, but may increase the risk of certain ones, including stillbirth and placental abruption [when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus]."

The PCE got into the drinking water in the late 1960's through the early 1980's because of vinyl lined asbestos pipes. It blows my mind that all these years later the contamination still exists.

The pregnant women in Cape Cod are being exposed to higher levels of PCE in their drinking water than most pregnant women in this country, I hope, but that doesn't mean that there isn't PCE in your drinking water and that you shouldn't be careful if you are pregnant.

Federal guidelines for PCE in drinking water are set at 5 parts per billionth. If you are pregnant and living somewhere where the levels are higher, you may want to consider not drinking or cooking with the water. You could switch to bottled water that isn't contaminated for example.

To find out what is in your local drinking water, the best place to start is by contacting your water supplier. The contact information should be on your bill.

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: pregnancy  health  stillborn  safety