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Salt and water

Written by: Hillary Grigonis July 29 2012 I didn't notice how much my feet had swollen until my tennis shoes were too tight (although my husband tried to point it out long before that). Or that my hands too were holding extra water until I saw the indent in my finger when I took off...

Written by: Hillary Grigonis

I didn't notice how much my feet had swollen until my tennis shoes were too tight (although my husband tried to point it out long before that). Or that my hands too were holding extra water until I saw the indent in my finger when I took off my wedding ring to do the dishes. And yet with all this extra water I'm carrying around, I still need more.

After one of those routine (yet strangely still uncomfortable) dipstick in a cup of urine tests, the nurse told me to drink more water. She walked out then, but poked her head back in the door and said “And no salt!” before closing the door and moving on to the next patient.

Well, I wish she would have stuck around to clarify a little better—because I'm pretty sure that while the American lifestyle contains way too many sodium-packed processed foods, some sodium is essential to function. So how much sodium am I supposed to get in a day? Does she mean to just skip the salt shaker at the dinner table? A quick internet search shows pregnant women should be getting between 1,100 mg and 3,000 mg a day.

But there's a problem with that. A chicken quesadilla (one of my go-to pregnancy cravings, along with just about anything Mexican)? Just over 1300 mg. Pickles? 300 mg for just one sandwich slice, which isn't even a whole pickle. And just about anything that I make when I only have 30 minutes or so has at least 25 percent of the daily recommendation in a small serving. Not to mention you have to leave room for the amount of sodium that's in the other foods on the pregnancy food pyramid like dairy (for calcium) and protein.

So it looks like I will be able to have just one sodium-packed craving item a day, if I behave the rest of the day. And if I drink enough water. Because while the summer heat makes it a lot easier to drink water, I still have days where I just need something carbonated and sugary to settle some minor tummy queasies and when water just doesn't settle well. Not to mention compounding the increased bathroom trips by pumping in at least 64 ounces of water.

Fortunately, ice cream is considered a low-sodium craving.

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