Reduce Fluid Retention During Pregnancy
Fluid retention during pregnancy is a physiological situation caused by changes in the body. These changes are helping your future baby develop correctly. This is usually the most common symptom during the second trimester and until delivery. Also, it’s especially common in your legs. This condition includes swelling and, although you can’t prevent it, there are measures you can take to reduce it.
Why does fluid retention during pregnancy occur?
The changes we experience during pregnancy are anatomical and physiological. At the hormonal level, progesterone increases, which helps with the vasodilation of the renal ureters.
As a result, renal filtration also increases, which helps with waste elimination. However, it does cause you to lose some vitamins and minerals, such as sodium.
So, to avoid those losses, water and sodium reabsorption increases. This can lead to edema, which is nothing more than swelling in certain areas of the body.
Another cause of fluid retention during pregnancy is the pressure the uterus exerts on the inferior vena cava, which hinders venous return. This leads to poor blood circulation.
Tips to reduce fluid retention
As you’ve seen, leg and ankle swelling is inevitable during this stage of life because of all the changes that are occurring in your body. However, you can still follow these tips to reduce fluid retention during pregnancy:
- Take time to sit and rest throughout the day.
- Keep your legs elevated while you’re sitting.
- Stay in a cool and ventilated room, ideally near a window.
- Wear light and loose fitting clothing. This will help your circulation be more fluid and won’t leave marks at the seams.
- Use compression stockings to help with blood circulation.
- Get a massage in that part of the body.
- Reduce your consumption of table salt and salty snacks, such as potato chips, nuts, olives, cheese, etc. Instead, make use of your spices and aromatic herbs to enhance the flavor of your meals.
- Stop using commercial sauces that have a high salt content.
- Avoid eating canned foods, smoked fish and pre-cooked dishes, as they usually have added salt.
- Drink at least 2 liters of water and infusions (ask a professional about which ones you can drink, as some can be abortifacient) throughout the day. This will help you stay well hydrated and will help you eliminate toxins. Also, you may like the idea of adding a few orange or lemons slices for flavor. In addition, you can even add a few slices of ginger, a cinnamon stick or some mint leaves. Always have a bottle of water handy to drink throughout the day.
- Eat fruits and vegetables during your main meals, especially pineapple, asparagus and artichokes. They have a lot of potassium, a fundamental mineral when it comes to counteracting liquid retention. Also, the best fruit in this case is banana, which also reduces the risk of muscle cramps.
- Eat vegetable broths during your main meals, made with fennel, parsnip, artichokes and celery.
- Avoid consuming added sugars that are found in cookies, pastries, cakes, etc. These will increase your fluid retention.
- Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday, such as walking or squats. In addition, you can combine that with strength training.
Lastly, remember that fluid retention is a normal and transitory situation that you can reduce with a healthy lifestyle and rest. However, if you continue to retain fluids after you give birth, you should go to your doctor for an examination. Then, they’ll prescribe a diuretic drug if necessary.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Ángel Gil. Tratado de nutrición. Tomo III: Nutrición Humana en el Estado de Salud.Capítulo 5: Nutrición durante la gestación y la lactancia. 2ºed. Panamericana.
- Swamy, G K y Heine R P. (2018) Edema en los miembros inferiores en la segunda mitad del embarazo. [Consultado el 10 de marzo de 2020] Disponible en: https://www.msdmanuals.com/es/professional/ginecolog%C3%ADa-y-obstetricia/s%C3%ADntomas-durante-el-embarazo/edema-en-los-miembros-inferiores-en-la-segunda-mitad-del-embarazo?query=embarazo
- Sylvia Escott-Stump. Nutrición, diagnóstico y tratamiento. Sección 1: Etapas normales de la vida, Embarazo y lactancia. 8ªEd. Wolters Kluwer.