But there is one this one thing that has been driving me crazy the last few weeks:
Swollen feet, ankles, and hands.
Before I really even noticed a whole lot of swelling, my wedding rings just got too tight to wear comfortably anymore, so I quit wearing them. Then not long after that, I began seeing that my feet were a little puffy. They eventually got to where they were tingly and sometimes they would hurt as soon as I got up and they hit the floor in the mornings, and then the swelling gets worse by nighttime.
I looked up different ways to deal with or prevent it, and I also talked to my midwife about it, who gave me some great advice on what to do. The down side I soon found out, unfortunately, is that you can’t completely avoid the swelling altogether (as it is a normal part of pregnancy), but it most certainly can be well managed!
When you’re pregnant, your body retains more water than it did before, therefore resulting in swelling. Your blood chemistry is also changing, which can cause fluid to shift to the tissue. And your ever-growing uterus can also press down on veins in the pelvic area, causing blood to pool in the legs, which makes it harder for the blood to make its way back up to the heart.
Here are 8 simple ways to do deal with all that:
1. Drink LOTS of water. Everyone should drink at least 8 (8 oz.) glasses of water a day, but during pregnancy this is even more important, and you need to drink even more. Now, for those of us who didn’t drink a whole lot of water to begin with, this sounds exhausting. But the more you drink, I have found, the more you will crave, which is good, because you really, really need to drink water for that precious baby and your growing self these days. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your weight in ounces of water daily. (Does that make any sense?) So, if someone weighs 100 pounds, they should be drinking 50 ounces of water, which is a little over 6 8-ounce glasses per day. (I say 100 pounds merely as a simple example, because I stink at math and my brain doesn’t cooperate these days anyway.)
2. Nightly soaks in Epsom salt baths. My midwife told me this is a great way to get rid of extra fluids/swelling, but I’ve yet to take the time to do it. (Silly me.) Fill the tub with nice, warm water and pour in some Epsom salt and then soak a good while in the evenings. Have a glass of water near you to sip on while you’re soaking, so you stay hydrated while all that fluid is being pulled from your body.
3. Eat 2 lemons every day. Obviously you may not be able to straight up eat a lemon like you would an orange, but squeezing it into your water throughout the day is the best way to get it. Lemons are great for reducing swelling, and are beneficial in many other ways as well, so make sure you get your daily 2 lemons and you’ll be feeling grrrreat!
4. Elevate your feet. When sitting, prop your feet up on a coffee table or ottoman or pillows, at least level to (or higher than, if possible) your hips. Higher than or level to your heart is even better, so try to lie down somewhere and prop your feet up then. (You need the rest anyway, Momma!) And another thing (which I’m still trying to learn) is to not cross your legs or ankles while sitting. This doesn’t help with your circulation at all, so just drop the habit, at least for now, no matter how unladylike it may make you feel.
5. Foot rubs! If your husband is sweet enough to do this for you, LET HIM. It helps with circulation and so will obviously make you feel so much better. A good time to do this would be just before bedtime, and you’ll sleep better too. Try rubbing in some lavender or Young Living’s Gentle Baby at the same time and you’ll be even more relaxed.
6. Don’t sit all the time. If you sit a lot during the day, try getting up at least every hour or so to get your blood circulating again. And every little while, when sitting, flex or stretch your feet and calves to keep it up. (Regular exercise helps a lot too, of course!)
7. Avoid tight socks and shoes. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Who wants to wear anything tight when your feet hurt? Not me! I prefer going barefoot 24/7, but there are times when one must where shoes. Just make sure your socks and shoes aren’t squeezing your feet, and you should be good.
8. Sleep on your left side. This is another thing I heard would help with circulation, because apparently the left side is best for lying on when you’re pregnant. I personally always prefer my right side or belly, so this has been a hard transition. You don’t have to sleep on your left side all the time, but it evidently helps.
And there you have it! I hope if you’re struggling with swelling during your pregnancy that these few tips help!
(Remember, if you’re having an excessive amount of swelling, it’s best to speak to your midwife or doctor, as it could mean something more serious than just the normal pregnancy swelling.)
Have a great day!