12 Natural Ways To Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy
As you may be enjoying some of those beautiful moments as a mother, such as those baby flutters and kicks, there are also some not so beautiful moments/discomforts that mothers can experience. And one of those is swelling. Ugh.
Swollen feet are totally normal during pregnancy, although they can be somewhat uncomfortable and not so pretty if I must add. Swelling during pregnancy, or edema, is caused by your body retaining additional blood and fluids (your blood volume increases by about 50% during pregnancy). Which you will most likely notice in your hands, feet, and face.
You will most likely begin to notice swelling more and more throughout your third trimester, as your body is retaining more and more blood and fluids. Your uterus is also becoming heavier, which can slow the blood flow from your lower extremities back to your heart.
Luckily, I have created a list of 12 natural ways to reduce swelling during pregnancy that you can try to make yourself more comfortable.
12 Natural Ways To Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy
Stay Off Your Feet
Due to the excess blood/fluids pooling in your lower extremities, avoid standing for long periods of time. When resting, rest with your feet elevated. As this helps drain the extra blood/fluids.
If you have a desk job, switch up your positions regularly. Get up and walk several times throughout the day to help get your blood circulating.
Reduce Sodium Intake
Try to avoid foods that are high in sodium (salt). As salt is one of the most common causes of water retention.
Some foods to avoid include canned foods, processed meats, and chips. Also, swapping out that extra salt, you are adding to your recipes, for savory herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, etc.) is also a great way to reduce salt intake. Sea salt is also a great substitute for table salt!
Reduce Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it causes increased passing of urine. Which can lead to dehydration and water retention.
Try to reduce the amount of caffeine you drink each day, which is already recommended for pregnancy anyway. And when you do drink caffeine, make sure to drink plenty of water as well.
Stay Hydrated-Drink More Water
Yes, drinking more water will actually help you flush out that excess fluid and reduce retention. When your body thinks you are dehydrated, your body will hold on to extra fluid to try and compensate.
So try to drink 8-10 glasses of water each day to remind your kidneys it can get rid of the extra fluid. I love this water bottle as it has ounce/time markings to keep me on track throughout the day. It also has a strainer to infuse fruit, mint, etc. into your water.
Go for a 10 minute walk a couple times a day to help improve your circulation, which will in turn help reduce swelling. As it keeps the excess water from pooling in your legs and feet.
Some other "exercises" to consider are rotating your feet in a circular motion. First one way and then the other, several times a day. Riding a stationary bike or swimming are also great ways to get some exercise in. Immersion in water is also said to be helpful in reducing swelling.
Massaging helps get the fluids circulating, which in turn helps with excretion through the kidneys and reduces swelling. This is also a great "excuse" to have your partner massage your legs and feet.
Massage studios typically offer specialized prenatal massage packages as well. This will not only potentially help with the swelling, but can be a great way to relieve the added stress that comes with pregnancy.
Although, if you are no where near your due date, make sure they do not press too hard on any of the acupressure points for inducing labor.
Wear Compression Stockings Or Socks
Compression stockings and socks are specifically designed to sustain blood flow throughout your legs. I actually fared pretty good throughout pregnancy with swelling, so I never used compression socks. Although, these socks have great reviews and the before and after pictures show some awesome results!
Sleep On Your Left Side
Sleeping on your side is the best sleeping position during pregnancy. Furthermore, sleeping on your left side is even better. Sleeping on your left side increases circulation to the heart and allows for the best blood flow to the kidneys, fetus, and uterus. This also takes the pressure off the inferior vena cava, which returns blood from your lower extremities back to your heart.
Steer Away From Tight Clothing
Wearing tight clothing, especially around your wrists, ankles, waist, and calves can make swelling worse, as it restricts your blood from circulating easily. Stay away from anything with elastic bands and trade in those high heels for something more supportive and comfortable.
Increase Potassium Intake
Potassium helps your muscles contract. With your blood volume increasing by 50 percent during pregnancy, you will need slightly more electrolytes, such as potassium. As it helps keep your body chemically balanced.
Some foods high in potassium include: Bananas, avocados, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, beans (lima, pinto, kidney, soy, lentils), halibut, fruit juices (orange, apricot, prune, tomato, grapefruit).
Especially during the summer months, remain inside to avoid swelling flare ups. Putting a cold compress on the affected area will help keep you cool and potentially reduce pain and swelling.
Drink Dandelion Root Tea
Dandelion root is a diuretic. It helps in reducing water retention safely and provides effective relief for swelling. It is also known to support healthy liver function by removing toxins.
When To See A Doctor
Yes, feet and leg swelling during pregnancy is common. Although, sudden and painful swelling, especially just in one leg can be a sign of a blood clot or deep venous thrombosis. Sudden swelling can also be a sign of preeclampsia. Preeclamptic women will have a high level of protein in their urine and often also have swelling in the feet, legs, and hands.
Contact Your Doctor If You Experience Any Of These Symptoms:
- sudden swelling of your hands, legs, feet, and face
- swelling that continues to get drastically worse
- blurred vision or dizziness
- a severe headache
- shortness of breath
- severe pain right below the ribs (typically the right side)
- swelling in just one leg, accompanied by redness, pain, or heat
If you are unsure whether your swelling is normal, or have any concerns, it is always best to call your Doctor! It is better to be safe than sorry! And keeping you and your baby healthy and safe is a the top priority!
There you have it mama! Kick that annoying and unsightly pregnancy swelling to the curb! Also, I want to thank you for stopping by! And make sure to follow along with my little family on Instagram! 🙂
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