Edema or water retention is a very common symptom observed in pregnant women. Half of the pregnant women experience this type of bloating.
The body retains water and bloats due to the changing hormone levels. Edema is worse during the third trimester but can start as early as the first trimester.
One needs to worry about water retention in pregnancy, only when the weight gain due to edema is very rapid. In such a situation, edema may be a symptom of preeclampsia, a troublesome condition.
Preeclampsia is confirmed with high blood pressure and presence of protein in urine.
What can you do to feel better?
Being careful about a few things can help you reduce the bloating and keep the water retention under control when you are pregnant. Lie down often, especially if need to stand for long periods and keep your feet elevated.
Maintain a light exercise routine to help combat water retention. Swimming, yoga and walking are good options now. Diuretic drugs can increase edema, so avoid them.
Do not wear tight fitting clothes, shoes or stockings, as these aggravate the condition. Include foods like garlic, eggplant, tea or coffee (moderately), parsley, onion, celery, peppermint and anise as they help reduce water retention in the body.
It has been observed that edema caused by preeclampsia may respond to the use of linoleic acid (fatty acid in safflower oil), fish oils and primrose oil. They may not be effective for ordinary water retention observed in pregnant women. Adding fish to your diet may be able to help you with the water retention.
Opt for farm-raised fish to avoid toxins. Change your cooking oil to safflower oil to help increase the linoleic acid consumption. Visit your obstetrician regularly and be aware of your weight gain.
Any unusual weight gain should be reported immediately to investigate and rule out preeclampsia. This condition normally develops in the second and third trimester, but one needs to be careful throughout the entire pregnancy.