Water retention in pregnancy: causes and remedies

Water retention in pregnancy: causes and remedies

Water retention in pregnancy

It is quite common, during pregnancy, to notice an increase in water retention, in critical areas such as buttocks, legs and even arms. But what are the causes and what are the possible effective remedies to counteract the water retention in pregnancy.

In this article

Why does he come?

During pregnancy, the amount of fluid in the body increases to 8 liters. It also increases the volume of the plasma and consequently the overall volume of the blood. All this liquid serves, on the one hand, to make cells and tissues function at their best, on the other hand to improve the supply of oxygen, eliminate waste and maintain the balance of electrolytes outside the cells.

The greater amount of blood is functional to the development and growth of the fetus and it is therefore normal to notice some swelling and water retention during pregnancy.

Why are fluids retained during pregnancy?

In principle, the main causes of a vasodilation that favors the stagnation of liquids, and then the water retention in pregnancy I'm:

  • weight gain;
  • hormonal changes;
  • increase in progesterone in the body.

Attention also to the contribution of sodium, i.e. salt, which can promote swelling and stagnation of liquids.

Remedies for water retention in pregnancy

Here are some tips that can help you reduce water retention:

  • keep your feet raised as much as possible: for example when you are sitting on the sofa or in bed: this helps liquids and blood to go back to the heart;
  • wearing compression stockings to improve circulation;
  • taking frequent breaks to lift your feet when standing for long periods;
  • avoid heels and wear comfortable, breathable shoes;
  • eat foods with high amounts of potassium, such as bananas and avocados, to eliminate sodium and increase urine production;
  • drink at least two liters of water a day;
  • limit foods that are high in salt.

Water retention in pregnancy and herbal teas

Alfredo Vannacci, researcher in pharmacology at the University of the city and expert in phytotherapy and phytovigilance, explains:

If we are talking about a physiological pregnancy and moderate consumption (one or two cups a day), herbal teas can be consumed during pregnancy. For water retention, draining herbal teas such as those based on fennel or with citrus and ginger are excellent.

Creams for water retention in pregnancy

Creams and gels can be useful if they perform aanti-fatigue and draining action, but even more useful is the lymphatic drainage massage that is practiced to apply the product. The massage, which starts from the ankle and goes up to the thigh, is able to drain excess fluids and fight their stagnation, favoring microcirculation and the ascent of blood towards the heart.

Read also: Pregnancy, anti cellulite tricks

Does water retention in pregnancy cause you to gain weight?

Weight gain is a normal process throughout pregnancy, and is due to the growth of the fetus and the structures that contain it, but also to water retention and the accumulation of maternal adipose tissue.

Water retention in pregnancy: how many kg?

Weight gain during pregnancy is very different from one woman to another: on average, weight gain ranges from 9 to 13 kg.

We realize that amniotic fluid contributes about half a liter, while liquids, such as bloodless plasma, contribute about two kilos.

Does water retention after childbirth go away?

In most cases, the fluids accumulated during pregnancy go away a few months after giving birth, but you shouldn't be in a hurry to get back into shape too soon: the important thing is to comply with the demands of your body, drink at least two liters of water a day. (also useful for milk production), follow a balanced and healthy diet and do some physical movement.

Water retention in pregnancy in the first few weeks

Water retention typically begins to become evident especially in the last months of pregnancy, when you can also suffer from swelling in the legs, ankles and hands (it is called physiological edema and affects about 40% of women in the third trimester)

When to worry

Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms that could indicate preeclampsia:

  • arterial pressure above 140 maximum and 90 minimum;
  • the presence of protein in the urine at levels above 290 mg / l;
  • swelling.


  • Physiological changes in pregnancy
  • MSD Manuals

  • water retention
  • pregnancy cellulite
  • swelling
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