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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Medical Aspects of Pregnancy > Fluid Retention

Fluid Retention

Fluid Retention

Water retention is a common complaint and can be a discomfort throughout pregnancy. It is because during this period a woman’s body produces 50% more blood and body fluid. Read on to learn about how much of this is normal and what you should do to cope with the discomfort.

Fluid retention, though common in pregnancy, is due to extra blood and fluid generation inside the body and the strain that is put on the circulatory system. You will find that during your third trimester, you not only find that your bump is increasing in size, but also your legs might begin to feel tight and swelled.
Fluid retention is also because during pregnancy, hormones upset all the normal balances of the body, disturbing the levels of sodium and potassium which leads your body to retain more fluid because it is unable to expel or absorb it.

It seems like my feet are growing. Is it my imagination?

No. It is the fluid retention in your body that causes feet and hands to swell. Due to hormonal changes, all the joints in your body are relaxing including the feet. After delivery, although they return to normal, there is a chance that you might need a size larger. Orthotic shoes, or shoes designed to correct your distorted centre of gravity are now available. Elasticized slippers are also known to help.

My ankles are swollen

The necessary increase in body fluids causes mild edema. Close to 75% of women go through this at some point in their pregnancy. It almost always happens later in the day or even in warm weather. Relief can be found on elevating your legs or after a few hours of lying down on your left side. Support tights also help. You could try flushing out your system by drinking 8 glasses of water to ease out the water retention. If your hands and face also begin to swell, notify your doctor immediately.

When to reach out for medical help?

Although swelling or fluid retention is not an alarming condition for a pregnant woman, if it comes all of a sudden or is accompanied with headache, blurred vision, painful urination, abdominal pain, cramping, bleeding, absence of urination for long hours or significant weight gain, you should immediately contact your doctor.
Swelling due to high blood pressure or gestational diabetes also needs close medical observation.

Ways to Reduce Discomfort Due to Fluid Retention in Pregnancy

  • Avoid clothes that are tight on wrists and ankles. This will keep the circulation proper and hence swelling can be reduced.
  • Avoid spending time outdoors when temperature is high. Heat is one of the main contributors of pregnancy swelling. If you are working in a place that is hot, try to cool down at intervals.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, avoid high heels. Apply cooling and moisturizing gel on your feet at the end of the day to help you feel good. Make sure the massage is light and is done gently.
  • Do not stand or sit in one place for long.
  • Rest with feet elevated. Even if you are working, rest your feet on a small stool.
  • You can use ice packs or cold compressions in swollen areas.
  • Wear support stockings or tights to ease the discomfort of swelling in your legs. Support socks help reduce swelling in ankle and promote circulation of blood.
  • Eating right food like reducing coffee or sodas and eating more bananas will help. Some changes in eating habits can also help you avoid fluid retention. Including onion, garlic, mint, eggplants and celery can also turn out helpful.
  • Resting often is important and will help reduce fluid retention.
  • Prenatal yoga under proper guidance and guru can also help.
  • Exercise of any kind that is recommended for pregnant women can be helpful. Walking is recommended, just make sure you walk on even ground and avoid fast walking.
  • Avoid long days of activity.
  • Rest in a tub of cool water. The coolness of water will reduce any uncomfortable swelling.
  • Minimize your salt intake and try not to take additional salt in your food.
  • Drink sufficient amount of water so that the fluid retained in the body gets flushed out in natural way. Do not leave yourself dehydrated at any cost. This might lead to other problems also.
  • Snack on fresh fruits. They have vitamins and nutrients that help with overall health and also promote good digestion.
  • Take some cabbage leaves and put in the fridge for some time. Take them out and put them on your ankle and bandage it. It will relieve you from swelling to a great extent.
Fluid retention at moderate level can be prevented with the help of above tips. If you see swelling in your fingers and hands, take out your ring and bangle so that they do not get stuck. If you are particularly uncomfortable, ask your doctor or midwife for further advice.

What are the causes of fluid retention during pregnancy? How to prevent fluid retention during pregnancy? How to deal with fluid retention during pregnancy? Discuss here.

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Elena.8 years ago
In the article, you have mentioned orthotic shoes and elasticized slippers.Where can i get these? do i need a doctor's prescription for these?
Sukanya.8 years ago
Is bloating really common in pregnancy? I am in early pregnancy week and experiencing severe bloating. I avoid legumes and cauliflower and cabbage to avoid bloating.
Gina.8 years ago
In my first pregnancy, i didn't experience swelling of feet but in my second pregnancy i have swollen feet. my sandals are not fitting me. Should i consume less salt?
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