During pregnancy, the body produces more than 2 times the normal amount of blood and other fluids to meet the needs of both the mother and the child. Due to that, swelling is caused. Why? Because the fluids produced help soften the body, including the hands and toes, because of the gradual increase in the size of the baby in the womb. Those extra fluids also help the tissues and joints before labor, and account for 25% of the weight gained during or after pregnancy, which slowly declines.
So, swelling, or simply edema, is the tenderness experienced in the hands, face, feet, ankles and legs. It usually happens in the fifth month, and increases in the third trimester, that is 27 till 40 weeks during pregnancy. Although it is not that painful, it can be quite annoying for some women, or agonizing for others. If it is the latter, consult a doctor, as it can be a case of preeclampsia. Back to the topic, below are some useful tips to reduce swelling during pregnancy. So, let’s start!
1. Rest in a Pool or Bathtub
It is scientifically proved that cold water and swelling are bad blood as helps the body increase the blood flow around the affected area. Also, keeping the swollen area cool has a significant effect on the pain and discomfort. Here’s what you should do:
- Lie down or sit in the pool, a bathtub if you don’t have one, for about 20-30 minutes, and be sure to use cold or chilled water, as it is the main thing that helps in healing the swelling.
- If you want to, you can also only soak the affected area in the water, as I know that many people aren’t a fan of bathing in ice cold water.
2. Get some new shoes
Don’t freak out if your feet are growing abnormally large, because that is a usual thing the body does to increase the amount of weight they can handle. So now that they grew, old shoes aren’t going to fit, so you know what to do next! Go shopping! Just be sure to keep the following things in mind when buying one:
- Buy all sorts of sizes, as the feet are going to continually grow during the pregnancy cycle, and you will be bound to wear tight ones if you don’t get bigger shoes.
- Shoes without heels are recommended by many podiatrists as they are more comfortable than ones with heels, and help the feet breathe and get some space.
- Some podiatrists also suggest using inserts and shoes made for athletes, while others don’t. Some believe they will reduce the swelling while others say they are too tight for the growing feet. So, if you ask about what is best, get some slippers, they are the best, but get open ones.
3. Change your diet
Since the baby is growing inside you, he/she can’t eat food itself, so that means you have to eat double! In order to avoid both a weak baby and weakness in your body, here’s what you should do:
- Eat lots of fruits, your body needs it, and don’t forget the vegetables! They are very rich in proteins, so change your eating habits for 9 months if you hate them.
- Vitamin C and Vitamin E are the most important vitamins during pregnancy and childbirth, so be sure to eat lots of stuff that has that, like apples, mangoes, oranges etc.
- Pre-processed and packaged foods are your enemies during pregnancy, so avoid eating them, as they usually rob the ingredients of their nutrients while processing and packaging.
- Now that all of the above points address eating stuff, this last one will tell you to reduce some. Excessive intake of fats, sugar and salt should be reduced, as they can affect your blood pressure and sugar levels, which can be harmful for both you and your baby.
4. Don’t stand for too long, rest!
Standing for a long time and constantly being engaged in various activities can be harmful for the feet, especially when you’re carrying the baby everywhere. Here are some things you can do in case you really have to do it:
- If you can, sleep on your left, it’s too complicated to explain, but it will definitely help the baby.
- If you are busy and have to stand for a long duration, it is suggested that you take constant breaks and sit for a while every time and now.
- Don’t remain sitting for a long time too. If you do for an elongated time, get up and stroll around for a little bit before sitting again. We advise that you stand up every 30 to 40 minutes after sitting down. Also, whenever you are sitting, try to keep your feet in the air with the help of a pillow or anything. It helps minimize the pain to a large extent and feels good too!
5. No drugs! Go for Therapies!
By drugs, I don’t mean medicine, I mean actual drugs! Why? Because drinking alcohol, caffeine and smoking is harmful not only for your health, but can also elevate swelling and increase the pain felt. As for therapies, here’s what you can do:
- Olive oil massages help decrease the swelling, so get one every now and then to reduce the swelling and to feel a little better.
- Not only can Olive oil, swollen feet can also be healed relatively quickly by using lavender, chamomile and cypress oil! They help in soothing the pain in the feet or wherever the swelling is as well!
- Herbal teas can calm you down and increase the healing capabilities of the body as well, but consult your doctor beforehand to avoid any mishaps.
That’s all for today folks! The symptoms of pregnancy may seem intimidating, but remember, all of this is temporary, and once you deliver your child, all of these will go away. If you ever feel you are in a really bad position. Just think about the future that will unfold as you get closer to labor! As they say:
“The soul can only be healed by being with children.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Lisa Miller is founder and editor in chief at FootCareSource.com, a foot health blog dedicated to provide trusted advice and information about foot health, foot wear and foot frendly lifestyle choices. Check out her blog to find more about Lisa and her work.