Hydrating, having salt baths, exercising, usage of apple cider vinegar, making clothing choices, avoiding sodium, potassium intake, avoiding caffeine, feet elevation, changing sleeping position and arnica oil massage are some of the ways to reduce water retention during pregnancy.
Water retention during pregnancy is a swelling that occurs because the body increases its blood and body fluids production by 50% during that time period. During pregnancy, the body needs extra fluid retention to soften the body so as to meet the requirements of the developing baby. Almost 25% of the weight that women gain during their pregnancy constitutes of these fluids.
This swelling that occurs due to water retention also called as edema, is normally experienced in the legs, hands, face, feet and ankles. Edema usually occurs during the fifth month of pregnancy and it increases during the third trimester.
However, the swelling in the legs is the most common and it occurs due to the increased pressure of the growing baby on the groin veins and an increased pressure in the veins of the legs. These swellings can sometimes turn into a concern because they can develop into Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) which happens when the nerve is compressed by the swelling.
11 Simple Ways to Reduce Water Retention
This remedy might seem counter-intuitive and ironic, but drinking water helps not only in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping moisture in the body, but also helps in losing the water weight. On the other note, dehydration actually makes the body to hold on to extra water. Water is the main remedy and crucial need for any problem there is with the body. It helps maintain a balance keeping the system healthy. Water also speeds up your recovery post-pregnancy. So, stay hydrated all the time.
Add half a cup of Epsom salt in warm water and soak your feet in them for about 20 minutes. This will improve the blood flow which results in healing. You can also add a few drops of oil like rose, lavender, etc. This remedy will also make you feel better because it is relaxing, calming and also reduces stress.
Exercise is important during pregnancy to maintain a balance in the body. Over-exercising or pressuring your body to do exercise is very harmful. However, a little exercise can reduce swelling and all the symptoms related, like:
- Moderate and Gentle Yoga
- Aquanatal classes (water exercises specially designed for pregnant women)
Decent exercise helps in the better circulation of blood and water preventing them from pooling.
Mix one tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar with one cup or two cups of water. Drinking this fluid twice every day will help balance the electrolytes in the body because Apple cider vinegar is high in potassium.
Your clothing choices during pregnancy affect the swelling more than you think they would. Tight fitting clothes don’t allow better circulation which stops the body from shedding the water weight. This also promotes the pooling of the fluid. So, it is always recommended to wear loose and comfortable clothes during pregnancy.
Too much sodium intake causes more retention of water. It is important to maintain a balance of water and sodium in the body during pregnancy. Make sure to check the nutrition facts of what you eat to know the sodium content in it. Opt for unprocessed sea salt and whole foods.
Some of the common sources of sodium are:
- Table salt
- Packaged Meals
- Processed foods
As said, sodium is to be avoided and one of the best ways to reduce it is by taking in potassium-rich foods. Potassium and Sodium levels in the body are concerned with each other, hence they work together. Potassium lowers the sodium levels in the body naturally.
Some of the foods rich in Potassium are: 
Caffeine causes water loss in the body, which increases the risk of dehydration. If this happens, the body’s response to that will be retaining fluids. If you’re a coffee person, then try replacing coffee with other intakes like water or herbal tea which will help you stay hydrated.
Feet can be elevated by keeping a pillow or a cushion under your legs. Make sure that the legs are elevated slightly above the level of your heart. This improves circulation and water flow in the body. Due to the gravity, fluids rush to the legs and that causes the swelling. Hence, elevating your feet for 15-20 minutes twice or thrice a day can help with the swelling.
Lie on your left side whenever you are sleeping, resting or just lying down. This increases circulation subsequently reducing the swelling in the feet.
Arnica Oil Massage
Arnica oil can be used to massage the foot very gently. It is important to be gentle while massaging and whoever would be massaging must make sure not to press too hard on certain points. The arnica oil will soak in and aid in relieving any muscle aches, sore or joint ache. Arnica oil massage can be a beneficial treatment.
Swelling due to water retention is very common during pregnancy and it happens to every pregnant woman. The above mentioned home remedies are all natural ways of reducing the swelling. These remedies are also beneficial for the physical health and a healthy state of the body. However, visit a doctor if there are sudden swellings, pain or redness. Happy Parenting!