In this article you will learn
Water retention and heavy legs during pregnancy are usually completely normal. Almost every pregnant woman can tell you about it.
But how does this water retention come about? In this article we show you the causes and most importantly, what you can do about it.
Why do you get water retention during pregnancy?
What is water retention anyway? And why do they occur so frequently during pregnancy?
During pregnancy your body releases more progesterone. This hormone causes your blood vessels to dilate, causing them to lose elasticity. They become more permeable, water escapes from the blood vessels and accumulates in the connective tissue. A Edema develops.
In addition, your total blood volume increases by up to 40%. This is important because it gives your baby enough nutrients and oxygen. More blood, however, means more water, which favors the formation of edema during pregnancy.
Standing or sitting for long periods promotes water retention. It is therefore advisable to put your feet up from time to time during pregnancy. Also exercise and moderate sport – for example walking or swimming – can help against edema. You can read more about this here!
When does water retention start during pregnancy?
Especially in the last trimester of pregnancy you will find some movements more difficult due to the expanding belly.
The calf pump, which normally pumps blood from the legs back to the heart via the veins, works less effectively. As a result, less water is transported away. Standing or sitting for a long time increases this further.
Water retention in the legs during pregnancy is also caused by the weight of the baby in the uterus. It squeezes the pelvic vein and thus prevents blood from flowing back from the lower extremities.
Water retention is promoted by little movement, long sitting, high outside temperatures and air travel.
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What are the symptoms of water retention during pregnancy?
If you suffer from edema during pregnancy, you will notice that your feet and lower legs feel swollen. In some cases, water retention can also occur in the arms, hands or face. Exactly where they occur and with what intensity is different for every pregnant woman.
Besides the full feeling, the swollen area may feel warm and cause pain. If you press into the fabric, a dent will appear that will last for a few seconds.
Other symptoms include:
- Pressure shoes
- Constricting socks< /li>
- Constricting rings
- Painful joint movements (e.g. ankle)
If your hands are also swollen, carpal tunnel syndrome can occur. The median nerve running across the wrist is clamped. As a result, your palms and fingertips feel numb.
Pregnancy-related water retention can cause both physical and visual problems, but in most cases it is harmless.
However, it becomes problematic if the following symptoms occur at the same time:
- High blood pressure< /li>
- Increased protein levels in the urine
- Flickering in the eyes and ringing in the ears
- Pain in the upper abdomen
Because then a serious pregnancy disease – preeclampsia– present. In order to discover this at an early stage, you must keep your appointments with the gynecologist regularly.
If the symptoms described above occur, you should not wait for the next appointment, but seek medical treatment immediately.
What helps against water retention during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, water retention during pregnancy cannot be completely prevented. However, you can do something about it:
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2. Activate your calf pump
You should also activate your calf pump between your sporting units to fight water in your legs during pregnancy.
To do this, alternately pull your toes towards your shin and let your feet rotate. Also activate your finger and forearm muscles by circling your hands or making a fist and stretching your fingers.
3. Drink enough
Even if you feel like you already have enough water in your body: Drink at least 2 liters of water or unsweetened tea throughout the day. The water retention during pregnancy does not help you to keep your metabolism in balance. However, this is important for your health and that of your baby.
And don't worry: drinking more will not increase your water retention.
4. Eat a balanced diet
Eat a lot of protein, fruit and vegetables during pregnancy. Fruits with a high water content in particular – such as watermelons – also help you to achieve the required amount of water.
5. Put your feet up
After a long walk or sitting, we recommend putting your feet up. Gravity then supports the return transport of the water towards the heart and water retention during pregnancy is reduced.
If you are out and about for a long time, compression stockings can your Support calf pump and reduce water retention. In the best case, sleep with your legs elevated.
6. Wear loose clothing
Avoid wearing clothing that cuts in and cuts off your blood flow. Instead, go for loose-fitting shirts, pants, and socks. If your feet are often swollen, you should buy shoes that are one size larger and offer enough space.
What can you do to prevent acute water retention?
Have you caught a day when where water retention during pregnancy is particularly bad, you can try these procedures:
- Contrast showers to stimulate blood circulation and reduce edema
- Cold foot baths
- Cooling ones Wrap
- Gentle massages towards the heart with rosemary oil, which stimulates blood circulation
- Homeopathic medicines or acupuncture
Avoid dehydration cures and avoiding salt at all costs. Instead, control your hydration and keep your mineral balance at a healthy level.
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The effects of water retention during pregnancy on your unborn child
You are certainly thinking about the extent to which water retention during pregnancy affects your child.
Don't worry too much about this, as it usually doesn't have any negative effects on your baby. However, if there are other symptoms as described above, you must be alert.
If preeclampsia develops, it can have serious health implications for both you and your baby.
Will water retention go away after birth?
Right after you give birth to your baby, the edema may increase for a short time. This is related to the hormonal changes.
After a few weeks, your condition will normalize and the water retention will also decrease. You may notice this through increased sweating and frequent urination.
But don't put yourself under pressure and give your body the time it needs to regenerate.
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