Struggling with water retention during pregnancy? You’re not alone! It’s extremely common (especially in the heat) to find yourself feeling swollen and puffy. During pregnancy, the body produces approximately 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy that is caused by this additional blood and fluid. I remember with my third son, who was born at the end of August, I experienced some days where I felt a little more swollen than normal. Some of the things that helped me best combat this are listed below!
Water is key and the most critical nutrient for you and your baby. Our daily hydration needs increase during pregnancy by about 300 mL. So start your day with water and continue to drink regularly, especially if exercising or in the heat.
2) Hydrating foods
Hydrating foods (think watermelon and cucumber) are super helpful during your pregnancy for reducing water retention. They are especially important if you’re finding it challenging to hit your water intake goals.
3) Foods rich in potassium
Foods rich in potassium help to prevent and reduce pregnancy swelling. Potassium helps keep the fluids in your body chemically balanced, which is especially critical during pregnancy because, as mentioned above, your blood volume increases so much. Pregnant women should aim for 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day. Potassium is found in many foods including avocado, bananas, sweet potato, spinach and yogurt
4) Foods rich in magnesium
Magnesium is a super important mineral. In fact, it is involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions that keep the body functioning. Magnesium helps relax muscles, helps your blood clot properly and is helpful in reducing the incidence of leg cramps. It can also be beneficial in easing stress and anxiety and is used as a natural sleep aid for those suffering from insomnia. Further, research suggests that getting adequate magnesium during pregnancy can help prevent the uterus from contracting prematurely. To top it off it helps reduce water retention…making it truly super! Include foods such as leafy greens, nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), fish, beans and lentils and dark chocolate to meet your magnesium needs.
5) Diuretic foods
Diuretics help the body get rid of excess fluid, mainly water and sodium. Most stimulate the kidneys to excrete more sodium into the urine. When diuretics flush away sodium, the body also flushes away water. These foods include celery, watercress, apples, citrus fruits, leafy greens and parsley.
6) Lowering sodium intake
Keeping your sodium level low may also help with water retention. The easiest way to do this is to avoid processed foods, which tend to be loaded with sodium. You can still continue using a small amount of sea salt to season fresh foods if desired.
Outside of diet or summer heat, standing for long periods of time or long days of activity can also affect swelling, so making sure you rest adequately is important.
Note: While slight swelling is expected during pregnancy, if you experience sudden swelling in your hands and your face, it could be a sign of pre eclampsia. It is important to contact your health care provider about any sudden and excessive swelling.