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Fluid retention in pregnancy: why it occurs and how to relieve it

It is common that during pregnancy, and more especially towards the end of pregnancy, you suffer from fluid retention. As a consequence of it, the pregnant woman suffers a series of annoying symptoms such as a feeling of heaviness in the body, tiredness and the clearest symptom, swollen legs.

This discomfort usually increases at the end of the day, as well as in the summer due to the high temperatures that cause swelling. If you also lead a sedentary life and have gained excessive weight during pregnancy, the situation is aggravated.

All these factors translate into swollen ankles and legs that feel like lead. Normally during pregnancy, you can retain up to a liter of fluid per day and at night you notice some swelling in the ankles. But after the night’s rest, that swelling should go down, if not, then you suffer from excessive fluid retention.

Why does it occur?

It derives from a circulatory disorder because the volume of the gut compresses the blood vessels that transport blood from the lower limbs to the heart. This tension causes fluid to accumulate in the tissues.

For its part, the hormonal changes produced in pregnancy, especially the increase in progesterone, and the increase in blood flow during pregnancy also favor its occurrence.

Women with kidney and heart disorders are themselves more prone to fluid retention during pregnancy, favored by excess sodium and lack of water.

How to relieve fluid retention

There are many tips that we can follow to relieve fluid retention , such as:

  • Lymphatic drainage massage : with this massage you eliminate the stagnation of liquids and favor their assimilation, resulting in an anti-swelling effect. Lymphatic drainage (massage) must be applied by a professional for it to have an effect.
  • Rest with your legs elevated . We should not sit down and place our legs on a table since in this way we further compress the blood vessels. We must lie down and raise our legs at least 15 centimeters above the rest of the body or lie down on the floor (or in bed) and place our legs against a wall. Staying in that position for about 20 minutes does wonders for relieving leg swelling.
  • Eliminate salt from your diet . We must avoid salting food and eliminate excessively salty foods such as bagged chips and snacks. Canned foods should also be eliminated as they contain a large amount of salt and sodium. These substances make our body tend to accumulate liquids that it does not need.
  • Instead, prefer healthy foods prepared at home and control the process of preparing each dish. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables that contain high doses of potassium necessary to regulate our body.
  • Drink plenty of water. Contrary to what might be believed, consuming a lot of water helps us purge the body of toxins. We can also resort to natural juices, fruit and vegetable smoothies, soups or cold infusions. Good hydration will help relieve heat and decrease swelling in the body.
  • cold showers . In summer they will come in handy to refresh us, but also running the shower head with cold water over our legs giving a gentle massage does miracles, as well as toning. Decompresses the tension of the blood vessels, promoting blood circulation and reducing swelling.
  • Massages with refreshing creams . Massaging your feet and legs (or asking someone to do so) is also a good remedy. Lymphatic drainage is performed by gently massaging from the feet to the thighs, thus eliminating tissue stagnation. To do it, you can choose a refreshing gel based on eucalyptus and rosemary (if you keep it stored in the fridge, the better).
  • Practice moderate exercise . We have commented many times on the enormous benefits of exercise during pregnancy. Swimming, taking a daily walk or yoga are highly recommended practices to promote circulation and relieve fluid retention.
  • Sleep on your side , preferably on the left side. Sleeping on your back causes compression of the vena cava and hinders blood flow from the lower limbs to the heart.

With these simple tricks you can reduce fluid retention and relieve the discomfort it causes . In any case, you should consult your doctor because if the retention is excessive, that is, it extends to the face, neck and hands, it could be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious disease characterized by increased tension in pregnancy.

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