How to Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy

How to Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy

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What Causes Swelling During Pregnancy?

Swelling during pregnancy is extremely common. In fact it is most likely you will have some form of swelling during pregnancy, whether it is in your feet and ankles, hands, or face. It typically starts sometime after 20 weeks gestation. The main cause of swollen feet during pregnancy is extra fluids in your body. Your body is already producing at least 50% more blood than it usually does. Then the presence of your growing belly adds extra pressure to your vena cava and veins in your pelvic region by pressing against them. The added pressure forces blood into your feet and ankles. Faster than normal weight gain, hot Summer temperatures, not eating enough potassium, and good ol’ gravity or a long day on your feet also add to swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy.

How to Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy

Hydrate – It sounds crazy, but the more water you drink, the less water you will retain in your tissues. Aim for at least 8-10 cups of water per day. It will not only prevent swelling, but will circulate hormones, detoxify your body, prevent constipation, help keep amniotic fluid levels where they should be, and overall just make you feel better while pregnant. You can check out my post on ‘How to Drink More Water’ HERE.

Avoid Standing for Long Periods of Time – This makes sense right? Standing for long periods of time will cause gravity to draw all of the blood and fluids toward your feet and ankles creating those glorious pregnancy cankles. Also, wear comfortable shoes if you plan on standing for long periods of time.

Wear Compression Tights or Socks – If you are on your feet a lot during pregnancy, invest in some good compression socks or tights. THESE Compression Thigh Highs are great, and don’t have to try to fit over your belly.

Minimize Salt Intake – This is the same as when you aren’t pregnant. Ever notice your rings feeling tight after eating a super rich meal? Extra salt intake will cause extra swelling. We still need to eat salt in proper amounts, just be careful not too eat a lot of it if you’re already experiencing swelling.

Rest With Your Feet Elevated  – This plays with gravity, too. If your feet and ankles are swollen, elevate them to try to get the blood and fluids to head back up to your pelvis. Just dont lay flat on your back. Try to lay on your left side with your feet propped on a pillow. Or you can prop yourself up with pillows behind your back and pillows under your feet.

Epsom Salt Soak – If elevating your feet doesn’t seem to help an epsom salt soak would feel amazing and help ease swelling. Epsom Salt is easy to buy on Amazon, and many include lavander for extra stress-relief and relaxation. Just make sure there aren’t any unnecessary additives.

Massage – Massage is also amazing for pregnancy swelling. Use some all natural clean body lotion and start by massaging your feet, then continue using upward strokes toward your ankles and calves. The upward motion will help move fluids out of your feet and ankles and back up toward your pelvis. This is a great couple building exercise as well, if you can get your partner to give you the massage. Take the time to have a nice conversation and catch up!

When to worry about swelling during pregnancy?

Swelling is very normal during pregnancy. But, there are two instances that you need to notify your doctor if you notice sudden swelling. One, call your doctor immediately if you notice swelling in only one leg or one arm. Especially if it is accompanied by pain, warmth or redness in your extremity. Two, if you notice sudden or worsening swelling in your face or in your hands, please notify your doctor IMMEDIATELY. Your doctor will want to check your blood pressure as soon as possible.

Sudden or worsening swelling in your face accompanied by high blood pressure is a symptom of a serious condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a life threatening condition for you and your baby and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

I hope these tips to reduce swelling during pregnancy work for you. Pregnancy swelling can be an uncomfortable and annoying part of pregnancy, but you’ll get relief as soon as that baby is born! Good luck!

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