Originally Posted by lilgreen
I was told by my doctor to limit salt intake to avoid swelling because salt is used for water retention.
That's really outdated information!
What's true for non-pregnant people can be very different for us preggos!!
We need salt to retain fluids now, because we're expanding our blood volume so dramatically in order to get adequate nutrients to our babies' placentas! We also need to keep making amniotic fluid, which is constantly being recycled.
If we avoid salt in pregnancy, our bodies are less able to use the fluids we drink, and they're more likely to just pool up and cause edema. When we get enough salt, the fluid is used well, and the baby gets the best possible nutrients. The advice I've heard/read is to salt to taste: not more than you want, but definitely not less!
Gail and Tom Brewer talk about this stuff a lot in What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know, and
Penny Simkin's Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn has a good explanation in her chapter on nutrition.
Here's a quote from Simkin:
"The abnormal, sudden increase in fluid retention seen in preeclampsia is not due to excessive salt intake but rather to the impaired functioning of the liver and kidneys, which normally regulate protein, electrolyte, and fluid balance."
Hope that helps!