Foods to fight water retention during pregnancy

I am 10 weeks pregnant with my first child. I have been going to my obstetrician every week due to concerns about excess water retention. I have already gained 24 pounds! Can you recommend any foods that work as a natural diuretic?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Edema is very normal during pregnancy. About 50 percent of pregnant women experience it sometime during their pregnancy. It tends to become worse during the third trimester, but can happen at any point. It may be that the rise in hormone levels of pregnancy is causing you to retain more fluid.

Bloat-Reducing Tips

  • Lie down or elevate your feet regularly
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes, shoes or stockings
  • Exercise
  • Avoid diuretic drugs, especially during the early weeks of pregnancy
  • Include foods with dieuretic properties in your diet:
    • Anise
    • Celery
    • Onion
    • Parsley
    • Coffee or tea (include in moderation due to caffeine content)
    • Eggplant
    • Garlic
    • Peppermint

There is some evidence indicating that evening primrose oil, fish oils or linoleic acid (a fatty acid found in safflower oil) may help with edema associated with preeclampsia, but it may not help with the normal edema of pregnancy, and as of yet, no recommendations have been made. It would be safe -- and may be helpful -- to add a few fish meals per week. Choose farm-raised salmon or other farm- raised fish to reduce the risk of toxins. Also, use safflower oil in your cooking and baking.

It is important that you continue to see your obstetrician frequently. A rapid weight gain of more than two pounds per week could signify the onset of a serious condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is characterized by edema (fluid retention), protein in the urine and high blood pressure. Usually the condition doesn't develop until mid to late pregnancy. However, due to the unusually rapid rate at which you have added weight, careful monitoring of your condition should continue.

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