Q&A: How many milligrams of sodium a day are safe during pregnancy?
I am only 16 weeks and I am already starting to swell. The major problem is that I wear AFO's on my legs and I am concerned about getting pressure ulcers. My doctor told me to start watching my sodium but as I read the labels, I find there is sodium in everyting! I need a guideline, How many milligrams is ok per day?
Sodium, of course, is active as a salt resulting in fluid retention. There is no daily minimum in pregnancy, as the kidneys and intake strike a balance which is somewhat skewed toward the fluid retention side of the curve in pregnancy due to other complex mechanical and chemical interactions of the pregnancy with the woman’s body. The best she can do is limit her sodium to what gives her a minimum of swelling, but swelling may nevertheless occur despite even drastic reductions in salt consumption. As you know, anything that tastes good has salt in it! At the molecular level, too little sodium, called “hyponatremia,” can be dangerous and cause arrhythmias, so it’s important to just “cut back” reasonably as much as possible. (Hyponatremia is what athletes drop dead from when the overheat and sweat out too much salt.) The bottom line is that with things like sodium and potassium, it’s best to not go overboard and try to manipulate levels with drastic constraints, and just let one’s body do the balancing. True, in pregnancy it’s a “C” grade for effort instead of an A+, but that’s good enough.