Fluid On Fluid - Using Water To Help Reduce Swelling In Pregnancy

Edema, or water retention is experienced by about 75 percent of expectant mothers-to-be. This swelling may begin at about the 22nd week of pregnancy, can sometimes last through to delivery and is usually concentrated in the ankles, legs, and feet. This symptom of pregnancy is gradual and is therefore not considered an indication of more serious problems, such as pre-eclampsia, which is caused by a blood clot or high blood pressure. However, while this is true, it does not diminish the feeling of discomfort and awkwardness that comes from having your feet become almost half a size bigger than they used to be (or so it may seem).

There are many suggestions on how to help alleviate the problem of edema during pregnancy and while it may seem ironic, water is one of the things that seems to be good for treating the condition. Consider the following ways and see if they help.

Water in

While you may be tempted to reduce your daily fluid intake in response to the retention of fluids in your ankles and legs, this would be the wrong thing to do. One of the main causes of the swelling is attributed to the work of sodium chloride (salt) in your diet and the best way to flush these out is to stay hydrated. It is therefore recommended that your daily intake of fluids should remain at about 10 cups, despite the swelling.

To give the swelling-reducing properties of the daily water intake a little more punch, you can consider adding cucumber and lemon slices to it before drinking. These additions have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce the swelling.

Water around

Being in water or adding water compresses seems to assist the movement of fluids through the lower extremities and can therefore help to reduce swelling. The work of water has been attributed to its cooling effects and the reduction of the action of gravity on the legs. Using a cold compress on the legs as well as wading or floating in a swimming pool can be soothing as well as effective in treating swelling. It can also be helpful to indulge in baths or just soak your feet in a variety of water solutions. 

One such suggestion is the use of tonic water, where the quinine and bubbles are thought to help the inflammation in the feet. This can either be at room temperature or cold, depending on your level of tolerance. Other, more regular, baths or foot soaking can be done in warm water, with the addition of such items as grapefruit essential oil or Epsom salt, to increase the muscle relaxant properties and therefore the circulation in the legs. For more information on pregnancy care, contact a professional like one from OB-GYN Associates.