My latest and greatest is SWELLING!!
So with ankles disappearing and a general bloated feeling coming over my body… I’m thinking – HEY! Isn’t this supposed to come later on!!??
Apparently not – 75% of women experience swelling at some point during their pregnancy – welcome to the norm 🙂
Aside from the above I’ve also got a nasty case of carpal tunnel syndrome – a common side effect of pregnancy that in this case is caused by the retention of fluid. In my case it’s primarily effecting my left hand – pretty much numb and tingly all the time – but my right does go numb at night as well.
The first thing many people may tell you when you say you are retaining water is – STOP EATING SALT!! This couldn’t be FARTHER from the truth and I’m going to explain why…
First let me explain the root causes of swelling in pregnancy. I found it most simply put this way:
” (Swelling is a) ‘normal response to pregnancy’ in the absence of other serious conditions… This is due to an increase in the total amount of body fluid and a lower concentration of protein to keep the fluid in the blood vessels.”
So there it is in a nutshell – it’s just what happens when you build another human being!
The cause for most symptoms of pregnancy are HORMONES!! And yes here they are again at work… here specifically Estrogen (increases our abilities to retain water – PMS bloating explained with this one too!!) along with a need for more protein and yep you guessed it salt to maintain osmotic pressure in the circulatory system!
Sodium ~ a pregnant woman’s salty friend!
Human Salt Requirements as per the Salt Institutes’s Website indicates that:
A generation ago, expectant mothers were advised to avoid salt to curb weight gain during pregnancy. Yet this is the very time of life when nutrition is vitally important. Low-salt diets by pregnant women increased stillborn births and low-birthweight infants and has been condemned by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology which has found “There is no clinical benefit in restricting sodium intake during pregnancy and there is the potential for harm.”
So there you have it — salt your food to taste! I prefer natural sea salts and not to excess of course — after all I want to taste my food not salt 😉
Protein ~ the building blocks of your & baby’s cells!
The other component to curbing swelling is adequate protein consumption — which increases as you grow your baby, placenta, blood, amniotic fluid and maternal tissues!! It’s a lot of hard work!! The important component of protein is it makes water soluble Albumin — which is responsible for 75 – 80 % of osmotic pressure… and along with electrolytes (sodium and glucose) helps fluid remain in the circulatory system to be used or eliminated.
The Brewer Diet Plan – “Your liver makes albumin out of the protein that you eat. Albumin and salt have osmotic pressure which is needed to hold fluids in your blood circulation. The swelling that you see implies that you do not have enough albumin and salt to hold the fluids in your circulatory system, which is resulting in the fluids leaking out into your tissues–in your ankles, for example. Eating additional protein and calories, and salting your food to taste should provide additional osmotic pressure and pull the extra fluids out of your tissues and back into your circulation. Once this fluid has returned to your blood stream, any extra fluid that you don’t need will be excreted by your kidneys.”
Well after trying a few remedies suggested by my Naturopath (Meghan Bauer, N.D.) — Nettle & Alfalfa tea, homeopathic tissue salts, etc. and getting minor relief as they are diuretic. She then suggested increasing protein and salt as I had read in my research above as well as drinking lots of water.
I did so by always salting my food & increasing my protein with every other day Protein+ shakes… and it seems to have helped quite a bit with ankle swelling and the bloated feelings… unfortunately the left hand carpal tunnel is still going strong!!
So aside from the swelling I started to develop a new symptom in early February. After a flu/cold wave went through my whole family & workplace I thought it was finally catching up with me and it was my turn… I was stuffy, sneezing and feeling headachy and congested 🙁
After a few days of feeling this way but not really feeling sick – I decided to ask the Google oracle… I typed – PREGNANCY CONGESTION — and the Baby Centre told me: “About 20 to 30 percent of pregnant women have congestion without having allergies or a viral infection like the common cold. This condition even has a name: rhinitis of pregnancy. It can start as early as your second month and last until you have your baby or even a few weeks afterward.”
OH GREAT!!!! Hormones strike again 😉
I did some more research on what to do and came across this funny website called THE BOOGOR DOCTOR – this is what he had to say about what to do about pregnancy rhinitis:
“The best option to help reduce the swelling of the lining of the nose is nasal saline rinsing. Many people have recently been discovering the benefits of the neti pot for nasal rinsing, and there are even easier ways to rinse the nose with salt water. Whatever the method used, saline nasal rinsing can help a woman with Pregnancy Rhinitis to maintain an open nasal airway and help reduce the runny-nose symptom. The use of nasal saline rinsing is completely safe during pregnancy.”
So yes me and my neti pot are now good friends and with regular flushes I’ve noticed a huge improvement 🙂 As well as keeping hydrated and the humidity regulated with our humidifier… which my hubby keeps filled with water for me – THANKS DARLIN’!!
THE GOOD STUFF!!!
Okay I’ve spent this whole entry discussing the downsides or somewhat yucky symptoms I’m dealing with… but what about the good parts — are there any you ask?
My hair, nails and skin are luscious, strong and healthy — WHOO HOO!!! That “glow” they talk about is real and I haven’t had a monthly announcement pimple outbreak in months!! My hair is growing so fast and is thicker then ever! And my nails are like talons… I have to cut them twice as much for work… looking forward to growing them out on my vacation next week (and when the baby comes)!!
And feeling the baby move more and more! From flutters to karate kicks — it’s the most wonderful feeling 🙂 I noticed my first flutter in December – see milestone note! Day by day she gets more active and it’s great to be more and more aware of her presence within me 🙂
Also the increase in foot rubs and doting hubby catering to my every need, talking to the belly & reading the little bean stories — it’s all fantastic!! 🙂