Water Retention in Pregnancy
Handling Water Retention during Pregnancy
Water retention in pregnancy or edema is commonly experienced by women during this stage. This is considered as a normal condition since this prepares the body to meet the biological needs of the growing baby inside the womb. This swelling is often manifested in face, hands, legs, ankles, and feet.
It has been estimated that 25 percent of the total weight gain of a pregnant woman is caused by the body’s fluid retention process which prepares the tissues and pelvic joints to allow the baby to easily pass through from its womb to the vagina’s opening.
Usually, accumulation of bodily fluids is at its peak during the third trimester of pregnancy.
While edema may impose some inconvenience to pregnant women, there are ways in which they can reduce the symptoms. According to obstetricians, women can lie down and elevate their legs higher than their heads to ease inconvenience cause by weight increase associated in pregnancy. They also said that proper exercise and wearing of loose clothing can also make women comfortable with their weight increase.
When a pregnant woman experiences unusual weight gain, it is very important to immediately seek an obstetrician’s advice and closely monitor the condition since rapid increase of body mass is more than 2 lbs. every week may be a result from some serious medical condition such as pre-eclampsia which is characterized by hypertension, albuminuria, protenuria (presence of excessive protein in the urine) and convulsion.
Women reported to swell more during the fifth month of their pregnancy and will continue to gain more weight during the third trimester. While edema is primarily caused by elevated hormones, other factors such as sedentary lifestyle during pregnancy, humid environment, low consumption of foods wit potassium, excessive intake of sodium (salt), high consumption of foods rich in caffeine, and standing for a long period of time can aggravate this condition.
Doctors advise that pregnant women can minimize the inconvenient symptoms of swelling during pregnancy by having a healthy diet. Eating foods that are rich in vitamins (especially potassium) and minerals and drinking lots of water will provide a lot of benefits to women. They should also avoid foods and beverages which contain high amount of caffeine (e.g. soda, tea, etc.) and stay away from salty foods. Women are also advise to wear comfortable footwear (avoid heels which can result to leg spasm) and comfy garments, they can also wear stockings and tights to allow support. Other recommendations for expecting mothers are: avoid going out when the temperature is extremely hot; avoid standing for a long period of time; avoid being sedentary and do proper exercise; and avoid wearing tight-fitting garments around the ankles and wrists.
To alleviate the inconvenient feeling experience in swelling caused by pregnancy, women can put cold compress on the swollen area which can give immediate relief.