Prevent Swelling In 10 Ways
Do your shoes feel more snug and your ankles look puffy? Swelling or oedema affects about three-quarters of pregnant women around week 22 to week 27 of pregnancy.
What causes it?
As your baby grows, your uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvis. This affects the large vein on the right side of your body which receives blood from your lower limbs (inferior vena cava).
This can lead to swelling. Fluid retention and hormonal changes play a role as well.
Mild swelling is usually harmless but if your hands and/or face become puffy or if swelling persists for more than a day at a time, call your doctor. It could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a condition characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.
10 Ways To Prevent Oedema
1. Stay off your feet. Sit when you can. If you need to stand for long periods at work, move from one foot to the other and do ankle rotations.
2. Put up your feet. Prop your legs above your hips when sitting and avoid crossing your legs.
3. Sleep on your left side. This takes the pressure off the inferior vena cava.
4. Exercise regularly. Walk, swim or use an exercise bike.
5. Wear comfortable shoes. Adding orthotic inserts can make your feet feel better and reduce leg pain.
6. Drink enough water. Staying hydrated will help your body hoard less water.
7. Take less salt. But don’t cut it out altogether as that might increase swelling.
8. Reflexology. A gentle massage of the feet might help but choose a registered reflexologist experienced in treating pregnant women. Or you could massage your feet yourself or better still, ask hubby to do it for you.
9. Acupuncture. Some women swear by acupuncture. Again choose a qualified practitioner experienced in treating pregnant women.
10. Wear compression stockings. Your doctor might recommend maternity support stockings.