Water Retention During Pregnancy What To Do.

Water retention & pregnancy

Water in the legs

Pregnancy brings many physical changes with it. This also means that more fluid flows from the vessels into the surrounding tissue. The water retention in the tissue is called edema. Due to the force of gravity, they form mainly in the area of ​​the feet and hands. Legs and arms can also swell and feel heavy. The overlying skin is tight, shoes or rings no longer fit or even cause pain. After lying down for a long time, the face, especially around the eyelids, can also be affected.

How water retention & pregnancy are related

But why do many pregnant women experience such water retention? Pregnancy brings among other things an increase in body water: At the end of a pregnancy, at four to six kilograms, next to the growing child and the uterus, it accounts for the largest part of the weight gain of an expectant mother.

The amount of blood also increases and the blood vessels become more elastic and permeable. Fluid contained in the blood is more easily transferred to the tissue. In addition, the calf muscle pump, which pumps blood up through the veins, is less active during pregnancy. The blood therefore flows more slowly through the blood vessels, which promotes the escape of fluid into the surrounding tissue. If the growing child and the uterus grow larger, they press on the pelvic vessels and also slow down the reflux of blood.

In addition, electrolytes such as sodium and blood proteins such as albumin play an important role in the complex fluid regulation. These values ​​change during normal pregnancy and then promote edema.

Pregnancy with such tissue retention is generally not a cause for concern. The edema is uncomfortable and not very nice, but usually completely harmless. However, if there are any signs you should see your doctor immediately.

Beware of rapid weight gain

Water retention in the tissue sometimes indicates the serious pregnancy disease preeclampsia. This occurs in three to five percent of all pregnancies and is therefore relatively rare. Nevertheless, one should watch out for any suspicious signs because in severe cases it can be life-threatening.

Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and excessive protein excretion in the urine. One of the visible signs of preeclampsia is the very rapid formation of edema on the face, hands and legs. If you find that you are gaining a lot of weight (more than one kilogram per week in the third trimester) or your face is severely swollen within a short period of time, you should consult your gynecologist quickly to check your blood pressure and urine status - especially if you also suffer from severe headaches, visual disturbances or severe upper abdominal pain: In connection with rapid edema formation, these signs suggest advanced preeclampsia.

What can be done against harmless water retention?

Pregnancy goes hand in hand with decreasing mobility: the growing belly makes movements more and more difficult. But those who sit, stand or lie down for too long promote edema formation. Regular exercise therefore helps to stimulate blood circulation and remove fluid from the tissue.

To encourage fluid flushing out, you should also put your legs up for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day. During the night it is worth sleeping with your legs slightly raised.

You can also activate the backflow of blood by stroking your legs with gentle pressure in the direction of the heart.

Warmth or heat dilates the blood vessels. Therefore, especially in summer, make sure that you prefer to stay in rooms with a pleasant temperature.

In order to avoid additional pressure on the blood flow, you should not wear tight shoes, socks or rings.

Alternating showers (cold-warm) activate your blood flow and alleviate the symptoms.

Drink enough fluids to boost your metabolism and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein. A low-salt diet is now advised against, as it has no influence on the formation of edema and, on the other hand, deprives the body of important electrolytes.

Water retention: Over soon after giving birth

Even if edema can intensify shortly after birth, it usually regresses quickly afterwards. Women who have recently given birth lose some fluid by sweating more and producing more urine, especially in the first few days after the birth.

So don't lose patience with water retention. This can make pregnancy more strenuous, but afterwards you will soon get rid of the unpleasant edema.

Iron deficiency - this is how you can prevent it

  • Keeping iron balance under control

    Tired? Brittle nails? Hair loss? The cause can be too little iron in the body. A problem that women especially have. Iron deficiency can be prevented well. We'll show you a few tricks you can use to keep your iron balance under control.
  • Eat plenty of iron

    Without iron, the body is in a fix, it needs the trace element, among other things, for blood formation. That is why you should take it in your diet every day. Plenty of it, because iron does not dissolve easily from the food pulp - your body can only use around ten percent of the amount of iron it contains. Therefore, the recommendation for adults is to consume 10 to 20 mg iron per day to cover the requirement of 1 to 2 mg.
  • Fill up the empty iron reservoir at high speed

    If the iron stores in the body are empty, however, the iron absorption can increase. Provided that enough iron-rich food is consumed. 150 grams of veal, for example, contains around 3.1 mg iron, 30 grams of fine liver sausage 2.2 mg. A slice of whole grain bread has 1 mg iron, 200 g steamed chanterelles even 11.6 mg. Nuts also contain iron: Pistachios are best with 4.4 mg iron per 60 g.
  • Particularly valuable - animal iron

    But not all iron sources are the same. People can use animal iron particularly well because it is what is known as bivalent iron (Fe2 +). The human intestine has a specific absorption route for this. Iron is bound in plants in a different chemical form (Fe3 +) and is therefore less readily absorbed than from animal sources.
  • Offal - edible iron stores

    Bringing meat or fish to the table on a regular basis is therefore a good idea. If you want to take in a lot of iron at once, you should consume the organs that store a lot of iron in animals. These are, for example, offal like liver or heart.
  • Iron-hard vegetarian alternatives

    But vegetarians can also use foods that contain a lot of iron. For example, beetroot, legumes or whole grains are good. Since the iron contained cannot be used as well, vegetarians have to pay particular attention to their iron supply. And watch out: some nutrients can worsen the absorption and should therefore not be eaten at the same time.
  • Beware, iron blockers!

    Oxalates (rhubarb, spinach) and phylates (rice, corn) or tannins (black tea, coffee) tea but also foods with a high pH value block the absorption of iron. Others, however, promote iron absorption ...
  • Healthy mix: iron with orange juice

    Foods that contain a lot of ascorbate, i.e. salts of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), make it easier for the body to absorb iron. So if you drink orange or grapefruit juice with your meal, for example, or enrich your meals with vegetables such as paprika or broccoli, you increase the iron bioavailability from your meal.
  • Prevention of blood loss

    It is the iron in the red blood cells that enables oxygen to be transported. That is why any severe blood loss also makes you limp. Women lose iron during their menstrual period. If the blood loss is pronounced here, it can in some cases be useful to counteract this with hormonal contraception using the pill. This reduces the monthly loss of blood and thus iron.
  • More iron for pregnant women!

    Women who are pregnant have a particularly high need for iron. Because the placenta and the fetus need additional care. The recommendation for pregnant and breastfeeding women is therefore 30 or 20 mg iron per day.
  • Are you suffering from iron deficiency?

    But even if you stay below the recommended intake, it does not necessarily mean an iron deficiency. In Germany around three percent of men and ten percent of women are affected by this. A blood test is necessary to determine this. With their help, the doctor determines whether it is necessary to supply iron artificially through dietary supplements.
  • Two hours before dinner

    Dietary supplements containing iron are available as juice, capsules or tablets. It is important to take the preparations two hours before meals so that they can be easily absorbed. However, these should only be used on the recommendation of the doctor - because iron can also be overdosed.
  • Warning, side effects

    Iron supplements can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. The color of the chair can also darken. Adhere to the dosage recommendations, otherwise symptoms of poisoning can occur. Vomiting, diarrhea, and even circulatory collapse are possible consequences.
  • Of
    Medical editor and biologist

Author & source information