Swelling during pregnancy, also known as edema, is entirely average with 8 out of 10 women experiencing visible swelling at any stage of their pregnancy. However, swelling can at times become uncomfortable and prevent you from doing normal activities. Luckily, there are ways you can control excessive pregnancy swelling to find some relief.
Here are 9 simple ways to reduce pregnancy swelling that will make things a bit easier for you:
Avoid Standing For Too Long
Swelling during pregnancy is most noticeable in the hands, arms, feet, and ankles. According to the American PregnancyAssociation, this type of swelling is caused by the additional body fluid accumulated to support the pregnancy. However, standing for extended periods of time can lead to painful swelling of the feet and ankles. Whenever you can, look for a place to sit and raise your feet off the ground.
Sleep On Your Left Side
The Mayo Clinic recommends that pregnant women try sleeping on the left side of their body to reduce the pressure on the vena cava. This is the largest vein that returns the blood from your lower body to your heart. By sleeping on your left side, the pressure on the vena cava is significantly reduced thus allowing better blood flow, and this reduces swelling.
Reduce Your Intake of Salt
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing hypertension, and this can even be dangerous for the baby. Too much salt in your diet can increase your risk of high blood pressure, but it might also worsen water retention. Make sure to season your meals with as little salt as possible to avoid hypertension and swelling. If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting even 14 weeks into your pregnancy, do contact your doctor as this could be a sign of a hypertension crisis rather than morning sickness.
Hot weather and warm interiors can cause the blood vessels in your extremities to dilate leading to a greater water retention in your hands and feet. Keep yourself comfortably cool, especially in late pregnancy when swelling tends to become worse. Applying cold compression on swollen angles can also provide some relief and reduce some of the swellings after a long day of standing.
Moderate exercising during pregnancy is beneficial for both the mother and her baby. Moderate exercising may also help with swelling during pregnancy. According to an article published in American Family Physician, range-of-motion exercising has proven to be beneficial for people experiencing frequent edema. Make sure to learn about appropriate exercises for different stages of pregnancy and learn about your pregnancy week by week.
Consider Compression Stockings
If you are experiencing very painful edema that is preventing you from walking and functioning normally, then you may ask your doctor if they could prescribe you compression stockings. Studies show that compression stockings reduce the severity of occupational leg swelling and they may also be beneficial for women experiencing severe pregnancy edema of the legs, feet, and ankles.
- Eat Some Bananas
Bananas are delicious and nutritious, and they may also help with pregnancy swelling. Bananas are a rich source of potassium which is a mineral of crucial importance for human health. Low potassium intake was associated with both hypertension and edema. Other excellent sources of potassium are avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes, and kefir yogurt.
- Eat a Balanced Diet
Every woman needs to gain at least some weight during pregnancy, but excessive weight gain can lead to preeclampsia, diabetes, and can make it harder for a woman to lose weight after delivery. Eating a balanced diet with enough protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables can keep your swelling at reasonable levels while supporting the development of your baby.
- Check With Your Doctor
Although some amount of swelling in the extremities and even the face is normal during pregnancy, there are cases when pregnancy swelling is a sign of a critical condition. Swelling that occurs in just one leg could be a sign of a blood clot while swelling that leaves an indention in your calf could be a sign of preeclampsia. Severe edema could also indicate problems with the kidneys, heart, and liver. Do speak to your doctor if you are worried about your pregnancy swelling.
Almost all women experience some amount of swelling during pregnancy, and medical experts agree that this is entirely reasonable. The extra water accumulating in your body is there to support your pregnancy. However, this can lead to discomfort and in some cases even pain. While you can’t get rid of pregnancy swelling ultimately, there are things you can do to reduce your pain and keep growing at healthy levels. If you have any concerns that your swelling isn’t healthy, do speak to your doctor about your concerns.
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