Congratulations on your pregnancy. You are sure to be glowing. And swelling. Not only is your baby bump swelling to accommodate your exciting new addition to the family, but your fingers, toes, ankles, and feet could be swelling too.
It’s quite normal during the later stages of pregnancy as your body generates additional fluid to support the fetus as it grows. This can put pressure on your body, particularly your legs, causing swelling in your lower extremities. Your circulation will also begin to slow-down and can add to the buildup of fluid. It could cause your feet problems as pregnancy always likes to pull the stops out with uncomfortable conditions! Some have even been known to have an extreme foot callus removal due to this fluid build up. It’s most likely this won’t happen and mild discomfort is all that will be experienced with the swelling.
What can you do to ease the swelling?
- Soak Your Tired Feet
Allow some me-time and treat yourself to a regular foot spa. Jets of water provide you with a hydrotherapy foot massage.
A good session releases tension formed around your tight muscles and tendons and allows blood to flow and circulate to your brain and other organs.
You can always add a couple of drops of lavender, rose, or rosemary essential oils or a good helping of Epsom salts to make it even more of a treat.
We all know that swimming is an excellent form of supportive exercise. Although we can’t ‘prove’ that swimming scientifically reduces swelling, the water pressure and buoyancy will at least give you a feeling of relief.
Hopefully, you’ll find that your legs and feet are less swollen too.
- Exercise Each Day
Gentle exercises such as yoga will keep your blood and fluids circulating throughout your body and prevent them from ‘settling’ in your feet.
Even a short 10-minute walk can help improve your circulation, and it’s also a great reason to get out into nature and have a much-needed break.
You should always be extra careful while exercising during your pregnancy and seek advice from healthcare or sports professionals before trying any new exercises.
- Eat Healthily
Did you know that pregnant women can carry almost 10 additional kilos during their third trimester?
Essential nutrients and minerals can help your body process this extra fluid.
Try and avoid processed foods and replace them with whole organic foods and untreated sea salt, which contains minerals that will help maintain your electrolyte balance and reduce swelling.
Potassium is a mineral that maintains the salt-to-water ratio in your body. Try to eat bananas, avocados, and other fruits and veggies high in potassium.
Remember to increase your water intake as well; this will keep you hydrated and feeling cooler, which is also a great way to control swelling.
- Foot Massage
A regular foot massage can reduce edema or swelling due to fluid retention. It stimulates the fluid to return to the kidneys to be flushed out and positively affects heart rate and blood pressure.
It also improves the lymphatic and circulatory systems that carry oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body.
If your partner is not around to give you a foot rub, why not try a foot massager designed to ease the pain of aching, swollen feet.
Ensure that you find a massager with adjustable settings so that you can change the massage pressure to suit you. A good 15-minute massage ensures blood and nutrient circulation and can help you sleep better.
- Sleep On Your Side
As you and your baby grow, it’s a good idea to sleep on your left-hand side.
Because your liver is on the right side of your abdomen, and lying on your left side helps keep the uterus off this large organ. Sleeping on the left side also improves circulation to the heart allowing for blood flow to the fetus, uterus, and kidneys.
- Experiment With Teas
Caffeine is a diuretic that can lead to dehydration and fluid retention from increased urination. We all know how important hydration is for your body.
Consider replacing caffeine with a cup of peppermint or chamomile tea, which contains many beneficial trace minerals, including potassium.
Drinking dandelion and nettle infused caffeine-free daily can also help improve circulation and balance electrolytes in the body.
- New Shoes
Everyone loves a new pair of shoes, so ditch those heels for something really comfy, which fits well. Believe it or not, there are some stylish orthotic shoes available.
Well-fitting shoes can reduce swelling and prevent back and hip problems as your weight increases and your centre of gravity moves. The ligaments in your feet may stretch during your pregnancy, so your shoe size may increase up to one whole size.
You might also want to consider your wardrobe too. Wear what is comfortable and generally loose-fitting.
Compression stockings would quite possibly rate highly as a serious wardrobe malfunction. These waist-high beauties, however, can help improve symptoms during pregnancy and prevent complications after birth.
- Rest Up
Swelling – another great excuse!
Take as much time as you need to relax, read your favourite book, and elevate your feet. You probably have a list as long as your arm of things to do before the baby is born, but it’s important to rest as well.
After a busy day running around, find your favoured chair and quite literally put your feet up. Most of the swelling that appeared during the day should start to disappear by raising your legs; any excess should be gone entirely by the following morning.
Listen to Your Body
Pregnancy is an incredible experience, and your body will undergo dramatic changes to accommodate a little person throughout the nine months of development.
As your ‘bump’ expands, more pressure will be put on your pelvis, back, and abdomen. It’s imperative to listen to your body and keep yourself as comfortable and swelling-free as possible.
Be kind to yourself, eat healthily, continue to exercise, and maybe even buy a new pair of shoes.