Your belly increasing in size during pregnancy is expected, but what about your fingers, face, feet, and ankles? Water retention during pregnancy is a common find and symptoms often increase with additional pregnancies.
Dr. Robert Silver, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University of Utah stated that water retention, “is due to an increase in total amount of body fluid and a lowered amount of protein to keep the fluid in the blood vessels.” According to Silver, this normal retention of fluids during pregnancy usually has no adverse health consequences (other than discomfort) and begins to reverse after delivery.
Many women experience water retention in the lower body, usually the ankles and feet, after walking around all day. For swelling relief try elevating your feet or lying on your side (preferably the left so you can also increase profusion of blood to the placenta for baby). Another tip is support hose for the legs. These are recommended if you are expecting to be standing on your feet for extended periods of time (let’s hope it’s not during summer in Arizona). Lastly, ice packs, loose clothing, and comfortable footwear are also recommended.
Swelling is often noticed around the fifth month and continued throughout the remainder of pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association things like summer heat, long periods of activity, diets low in potassium and/or high in sodium, and also high caffeine intake all may increase pregnancy swelling.
There are some natural remedies women have found beneficial for decreasing water retention. Increasing water intake helps flush the body and reduce the overall retaining of water. Dandelion leaf is an herbal remedy known to help pregnancy swelling. This herb can be eaten in salads or dried and consumed as a tea. Dandelion is a source of calcium, iron, beta-carotene, and phytochemicals, which initiate the elimination of excess fluids. Another natural supplement to help with swelling is ginger. This root helps even out the body’s electrolytes and fluid balance.