How to Reduce Water Retention During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of changes and challenges for most women 1. Your body is changing at an alarming rate as your baby develops, and sometimes it's difficult to know how to handle all the issues and discomforts that can be a part of this process. You're prepared for your tummy to get larger as your pregnancy progresses, but you may not have realized how much your body can swell and puff all over due to water retention, also known as edema 1. There are several things you can try to reduce water retention during your pregnancy, resulting in one less discomfort to distract you from your little bundle 1.

Lie down and elevate your feet as often as you can. Avoid standing for long lengths of time. Avoid wearing high heels. Water retention in pregnancy generally causes the feet to swell 1. Elevating them at least 12” can help the circulation to flow and decrease the water buildup in the feet.

Avoid junk food and processed foods. Both contain a lot of sodium, which causes the body to retain fluids. Read labels on things like salad dressings, cereals and soups. Some of these have a lot of sodium as well.

Talk to your doctor about increasing your calcium intake, potassium intake and/or your Vitamin B6 intake. These supplements have been shown to reduce water retention in both premenstrual and postmenopausal women. Do not increase these supplements, or any others during pregnancy, without first speaking with your doctor 1.

Increase your daily exercise to improve your circulation and help pump out retained fluids. Yoga, walking and swimming are all good options for pregnancy 1.

Eat more of the following foods, which have diuretic properties: celery, onion, parsley, garlic, eggplant, peppermint and herbal teas. Drink plenty of water so your body does not retain fluid due to dehydration.

Stay indoors during hot summer days, especially in late summer. Heat can increase your water retention, so avoid it as much as you can.


Avoid wearing tight, restrictive clothing, shoes or socks, as the edema in your legs and feet could cause circulation problems and discomfort. Remember that some swelling and water retention is normal when pregnant. It is part of how the body prepares for the baby and the birth. If you experience swelling of the feet and ankles, don't be surprised if it continues up to two weeks after delivery.