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14 Supplements That Will Cure Pregnancy Edema

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Swelling during pregnancy- over 80 percent of women experience some pregnancy-related edema. Some pregnancy edema is beneficial and helps produce a healthy baby. However, excessive swelling can be caused by poor diet or nutritional deficiencies. Use these 14 remedies to control excess pregnancy swelling.

One of the most frustrating things about being pregnant is that although you face many of the same issues as before you were pregnant, few remedies are safe for use during pregnancy. Even simple over-the-counter ibuprofen is considered unsafe during pregnancy.

Unfortunately, many women suffer from swelling and discomfort during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Swollen hands, feet, ankles, and legs are common- and can make any pregnant woman both uncomfortable and frustrated with her appearance. While some swelling during pregnancy is normal- and even beneficial for the baby- too much swelling could be a sign of dangerous preeclampsia.

However, for all the women in the middle, they would do anything to feel a bit less like a whale during pregnancy- as long as it didn’t harm the baby. Although many common herbs and supplements taken to relieve edema are risky for women to take during pregnancy, there are still many supplements and nutrients that you can take that will help control excess swelling and eliminate any swelling that is nonessential and caused by poor circulation, excess fluids, too much salt, or other nutrient imbalances in the body.

The following nutrients and herbs can help control pregnancy edema without dangerous side effects to the mother or baby.

However, just as pregnancy complications can vary from woman to woman, some of these remedies may not be safe for all women. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement routine to control swelling during pregnancy.

Once you get the go-ahead, these simple remedies will have you feeling a bit more like your old self even though you are currently housing another person.

A Word on Preeclampsia or Toxemia

According to the American Pregnancy Association, about 2-6 percent of mothers have this dangerous condition during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is the precursor to eclampsia, which is a dangerous condition that can lead to high blood pressure, seizures, and even death. Most women today do not get eclampsia because preeclampsia is a highly-monitored condition. With the right steps, doctors can protect a woman from the dangers of eclampsia.

Preeclampsia has many obvious symptoms, including a rise in blood pressure, protein in the urine, sudden and extreme swelling and weight gain, vision problems, and sometimes headaches and nausea. Since one of the symptoms of preeclampsia is severe pregnancy edema, you should always discuss edema with your healthcare provider.

Although about 90 percent of women experience some natural and healthy swelling during pregnancy, it is possible that your swelling is a sign of a more complicated issue. Never ignore any warning signs during pregnancy or try to treat your condition without the backing of your healthcare provider.

If you want to use natural methods to reduce your swelling, make sure you discuss the issue with your doctor and eliminate the possibility of preeclampsia first.

Natural Cures for Pregnancy Edema

The following vitamins, minerals, and herbs can help control excess fluid levels during pregnancy without risk of harming baby or mother. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or supplement routines.

Salt

Most doctors and health professionals advise women to cut back on their salt intake during pregnancy to avoid excess swelling. However, edema during pregnancy operates differently than edema during other periods. According to chemist Robert Rister, author of Healing without Medication, when a woman is pregnant, the body increases blood volume and fluid production by 50 percent or more, which enables the body to have a completely different response to salt.

Ordinarily, the body tries to maintain a normal level of sodium in the blood. If your body has too much salt, your kidneys will retain fluid to maintain the proper sodium levels in the blood. However, during pregnancy, the kidneys will retain water more even without high levels of salt? Why? Because the body uses the extra fluid to not only increase the transfer of nutrients to the baby, but also to place gentle pressure on the pelvis to widen the bone to make delivery easier.

According to the book “What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know” by Dr. Tom Brewer, getting enough salt during pregnancy is essential. In fact, a lack of salt can increase swelling during pregnancy. The blood requires a balance of sodium and fluid to function properly. The less salt in the blood, the easier it is for fluid to leak into surrounding tissues.

During pregnancy, salt is prioritized to the fetus, just like all other nutrients. That means that a woman may actually need to consume more salt to maintain the right levels of sodium in her blood. One of the most effective ways to control excess swelling is by increasing your salt intake.

A study from 1958 conducted on 2000 women showed that when pregnant women consumed higher amounts of salt in their pregnancies, they were actually less likely to face complications. Among 2000 women (1000 on a high-salt diet and 1000 on a low-salt diet), the complication rates were as follows:

Salt-Related Complications in Pregnancy 
High Salt Diet: 37 with toxemia, 27 perinatal deaths, 9 C-sections, and 17 cases of abruptio placenta. 
Low Salt Diet: 97 with toxemia, 50 perinatal deaths, 14 C-sections, and 32 cases of abruptio placenta.

There have been few other studies conducted on women, likely due to the dangerous side effects of testing pregnant women, but animal studies have shown similar conclusions to the above study. Restricting salt may be one of the worst things you can do during pregnancy unless you are at risk for preeclampsia.

Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient for pregnant women that can also control excess swelling. In the body, the liver converts nutrients from protein into albumin. Albumin is another important nutrient that prevents fluid from leaking out of the blood vessels into surrounding tissues. Simply by eating enough salt and high levels of protein, you may be able to reduce your fluid retention significantly.

Potassium

Potassium is an electrolyte that carries electric signals throughout the body. Your body requires these electrolytes to function properly. Your blood has to have the right balance of potassium, sodium, magnesium, and other electrolytes to prevent swelling. A lack of potassium can lead to excess swelling and fluid retention. Potassium deficiencies can also lead to blood pressure spikes, according to the University of Maryland, which is dangerous during pregnancy.

One of the easiest ways to prevent pregnancy swelling is by upping your potassium intake. You can take it in supplement form (consult with your healthcare provider first) or simply add more potassium-rich foods to your diet, such as bananas, citrus, tomatoes, potatoes, fish, chicken, lima beans, red meat, and avocados.

Ginger

Ginger is one of the world’s best inflammation-fighters. The book “The Amazing and Mighty Ginger” written by Ann M. Bode and Zigang Dong cites numerous studies about ginger that state that the root can reduce overall inflammation and swelling. In studies on patients with arthritis, ginger supplements taken for 3 months to 2 years were able to significantly reduce joint swelling and pain. Ginger taken during pregnancy should have similar effects and boost healthy circulation and eliminate excess swelling around joints.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a vitamin that is crucial for use during pregnancy. Although some studies show that high levels of vitamin C may be dangerous for women early in pregnancy and increase the risk of miscarriages, studies show that vitamin C intake levels recommended by the FDA are safe during pregnancy. The FDA recommends that pregnant women consume 85 mg of vitamin C daily, which is 10 mg more than the recommended amount for non-pregnant women. Vitamin C boosts the circulation and will help prevent swelling in the legs and feet. 

Sources of Vitamin C
  • Citrus
  • Red peppers
  • Melons
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another vitamin important for controlling pregnancy edema. Vitamin E helps improve circulation and reduces swelling after injuries. Some vitamin E deficiencies have been linked with an increased risk for edema. The National Institute of Health recommends that pregnant women consume 15 mg (or 22.4 IU) of vitamin E daily.

Sources of Vitamin E 

Sunflower seeds

Corn

Almonds

Wheat germ

Fish


Oat Straw

Oat straw is simply straw from oats, which provides benefits in many ways to help control excess swelling. The best way to use oat straw to help pregnancy edema is by drinking it brewed in a tea. Oat straw contains many beneficial ingredients that fight edema. Notably; oat straw contains calcium, magnesium, protein and B vitamins- all which are crucial nutrients for pregnancy and reducing edema.

Onions and Garlic

These two flavor-enhancers are amazingly healthy and beneficial during pregnancy. Onion and garlic both promote healthy circulation of the blood- which is good for mom and baby. Onions and garlic stimulate the circulation of the blood and help move fluids away from the legs (where pressure from the baby often traps excess fluids) and back to the heart. Additionally, onions and garlic also provide the following health benefits:

Health Benefits of Onions and Garlic
  • Removes excess toxins from the blood
  • Controls high cholesterol
  • Removes blood plaque
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Contains powerful antioxidants

Diuretics

Use of diuretics is not recommended for most pregnant women, because some fluid retention is normal and healthy. Flushing out too much fluid could increase chances of seeing complications from pregnancy. However, there may be some cases where diuretics can ease some of the excess swelling and discomfort in pregnant women. If you still have extreme fluid retention after taking the above steps, the following diuretics may be able to relieve some of the discomforts of pregnancy edema.

Consult with your healthcare provider before taking any of the following herbal diuretics.

Dandelion: Dandelion is one of the most effective diuretics safe for pregnancy. Dandelion not only promotes fluid elimination, but it also contains many other beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin K, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium- all extremely beneficial for fluid management and overall health during pregnancy. Consult with your healthcare provider on what a safe does is for you.

Celery: Celery seed can help remove excess fluids from the body. It is also effective at reducing total inflammation and soothing the nerves. Celery seed contains many nutrients beneficial during pregnancy; including coumarins, which helps improve circulation and prevent blood clots; and antioxidants. There is some concern that consuming high levels of celery seed could lead to uterine bleeding in pregnant women, so talk to your healthcare provider before consuming any celery seed outside of what you would ordinarily use to cook with.

Alfalfa: Alfalfa is an amazing plant that provides many benefits to a pregnant woman in addition to controlling pregnancy edema. Alfalfa contains nutrients including vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin C, and beneficial amino acids. These acids are used to promote digestion, relieve nausea, promote healthy blood clotting, and removing excess toxins from the blood as well as promoting healthy blood pressure.

Bilberry: Bilberries are basically the European version of blueberries. They have numerous health benefits in addition to their mild diuretic properties. Bilberry contains many amazing vitamins and essential nutrients that offer incredible health benefits, such as: antioxidants, anti-bacterial agents, anti-inflammatory properties, strengthening the blood vessels, repairing damaged proteins, and relieve constipation when eaten in fruit form. Bilberry can also prevent hemorrhoids, which can commonly pop up during pregnancy thanks to the increased amount of pressure caused by the weight of the baby.

Nettle: Stinging nettle is an effective diuretic and also has other health benefits for women during pregnancy. Some studies have indicated that nettle roots could be dangerous for use during pregnancy and may contribute to miscarriages. However, the leaves of the nettle plant have no side effects during pregnancy. Look for nettle leaves, rather than nettle roots, and you should be safe to drink nettle tea during pregnancy with the OK of your healthcare provider.

Many health practitioners recommend avoiding nettles during the first trimester- but swelling is typically minimal during the first trimester anyway. Nettle contains many beneficial ingredients including iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium- all extremely beneficial vitamins for preventing pregnancy edema.

Relieving Excess Pregnancy Swelling

Swelling and pregnancy edema is a complicated issue. It could be necessary for the healthy delivery of the baby, or it could be a sign of dangerous preeclampsia. However, most women fall somewhere in between- especially due to the low nutrition content of the modern diet. If you are a pregnant woman suffering from uncomfortable swelling, the above remedies could be just the thing you need to control excess swelling and live a healthier, happier pregnancy.

Next Article: Edema Diet: Foods to Avoid for Edema