Swelling is common during pregnancy. In fact, about half of all women experience it.
The main reasons why women experience swelling while pregnant is due to changing hormones, the body retaining extra fluid, and a growing uterus impacting the return of blood to the heart. Often it can become painful and uncomfortable, particularly in your last trimester.
It’s not just your belly that’s swelling! You may find your feet, ankles, legs, fingers, face and lower back become swollen, particularly in the last few months of pregnancy.
Even though you may not be able to stop your body from swelling, you may be able to reduce the severity and find ways to deal with the discomfort.
Here are our top tips to reduce swelling during pregnancy:
1. Choose foods that are natural diuretics
You should increase your consumption of foods that help increase the excretion of fluids through the kidneys. The most common foods include asparagus, celery, artichoke, carrot, watermelon, cucumber, tomato, parsley, eggplant, cranberry juice, cabbage, apple cider vinegar, ginger, brussel sprouts and lemon. Don’t forget to keep hydrated too! This will help your body to hoard less water.
2. Avoid sodiumSalty foods can cause your body to hold onto more fluid. As tempting as these foods are, try to reduce how much salt, sugar and fat you consume. Start by cutting out pre-packaged, highly processed goods, as they are usually high in all three. This means no chips, lunch meats, canned foods, carbs and caffeine!
3. Get your blood pumpingIt’s important to keep your blood flow consistent throughout the day. Start by wearing comfortable shoes and putting your feet up above your hips as much as you can. Avoid standing for long periods without moving or crossing your legs, which can restrict your blood flow. Try to exercise regularly by walking or swimming. Bonus tip: when you sleep, lean toward sleeping on your left side, which will help blood return to the heart.
4. Try massage therapyIf you’re looking for an excuse for a massage, here it is! Massaging your body can return fluid to the general circulation, help blood flow back to the heart, and further aids excretion through the kidneys. Use a massage oil with a few drops of essential oil, as aromatherapy may help with swelling. Cypress oil is good for circulation, lavender and chamomile oil may ease discomfort and make you feel more relaxed.
5. Cool skin therapyFor added benefit, use a cooling massage roller like the Chilly Roll to give your body the ‘cold treatment’. A cooling massage roller is a self-massage applicator that chills down to a cool temperature, which can help reduce skin puffiness and swelling. Simply place it in the freezer for 3 hours, then gently massage onto areas of your skin, applying long and short strokes to the swollen areas of the body. The movement stimulates microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow and alleviates pain and inflammation. Because our bodies react to the dip in temperature, the coolness helps to increase blood circulation and reduce swelling. The chilled feeling is soothing on the skin, and very relaxing!
6. Try natural emu oilEmu oil has been used for thousands of years to treat a range of ailments relating to inflammation and pain. 100% pure oils are the most effective type. Due to its high levels of essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 & 9) and vitamins A & E, Emu Spirit emu oil acts as an anti-inflammatory agent to help reduce swelling and relieve muscle and joint pain. Additionally, emu oil can penetrate the outer layer of the skin and improve circulation, to help speed up the recovery process too. Bonus tip: when you begin to nurse your newborn, you can also apply emu oil to soothe your skin after breastfeeding.
Did you swell up during pregnancy? What are your top tips to reduce the swell? Tell us in the comments below.