Pregnancy brings many changes to the body. One of the most common pregnancy side effects is swelling.
Swelling can begin early in pregnancy but most commonly starts to appear in the second and third trimesters. With a few simple adjustments, you can make yourself more comfortable and reduce swelling.
Read the tips below on how to reduce swelling during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Swelling Causes & Remedies
Blood and Fluid Increase
During the first trimester, the blood and fluid volume in your body increases by 50%. This supports the growing fetus but also can increase pressure on veins and joints, leading to swelling.
If you’re pregnant during the summer or live in a warm climate, you may experience increased swelling due to the temperature. Dry to stay cool and air conditioned when possible, or use a cold cloth and ice to cool your body and reduce swelling.
A diet high in salt (sodium) can lead to excess swelling. Reduce sodium intake and try to eat a balanced diet with fewer processed and packaged foods, which are often hidden culprits for sodium.
Keep well hydrated during pregnancy to encourage your body to flush toxins out. It is recommended to increase your water intake from 8 to 10 cups per day during pregnancy.
While standing for long periods of time can increase swelling, exercising can help to reduce it. Exercise encourages blood circulation. Some people really enjoy spending time submersed in a swimming pool as the water gives the body buoyancy and reduces pressure on the veins and joints.
Other ways on how to reduce swelling in feet during pregnancy
Image Source: Comradsocks.com
Wearing compression garments like maternity leggings or socks can help with circulation and reduce the risk of clots and swelling. Here are a few of our favorite items: Comrad, Kindred Bravely, Bao Bei Body, A Pea in the Pod.
Whether it’s a self-massage or a professional one, getting fluid and blood flow moving with massage can do wonders for pregnancy swelling. If giving yourself a massage, work from your extremities using long, firm strokes towards your heart to increase circulation. Using a tool like Gua Sha on the face can help reduce facial swelling. Use a cold gua sha tool for even more benefits.
Propping your feet up on pillows at the end of the day can help reduce swelling and inflammation during pregnancy. Ideally, keep them above your heart for about 20 minutes (about the length of time it takes to watch one episode of your favorite show). You can also practice legs up the wall pose with a small support cushion on your pelvis to reduce pressure.
When to seek medical attention
While swelling during pregnancy is common, there are times when it can be a symptom of a serious medical emergency, like preeclampsia or deep vein thrombosis. If you experience these symptoms along with swelling, call your care provider right away or seek emergency care.
- sudden swelling of your hands, feet, face, or around your eyes
- swelling that gets dramatically worse
- dizziness or blurred vision
- a severe headache
- abdominal pain, especially in the upper right section of your abdomen
- difficulty breathing
- If you notice swelling in just one leg that is also accompanied by pain, redness, or heat, this could mean you have a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A DVT is a blood clot, usually in your leg.
By: Erin Pasquet
Birth and Postpartum Doula
Certified Lactation Counselor
Pre/Post Natal Yoga Teacher