Swelling, though extremely frustrating, is not unusual; for pregnant women. This is because to help sustain the needs of the baby, the body has to produce roughly 50% more blood and fluid. This condition, called edema, occurs on the face, neck, and hands, but it is mostly noticeable on the lower extremities, which absorb more of the extra pressure.
According to an article by Today’s Parent, the growing uterus begins to put a significant amount of pressure on the pelvic veins and vena cava (the vein the right side of the body that transports blood from the feet back to the heart), to the point of impairing the proper return of blood to the heart. As a result, more blood tends to be retained below the knees, explaining the excessive leg puffiness. You RMT in Vancouver may help in managing this, though, with a series of massage sessions to re-establish healthy blood circulation.
The condition is absolutely normal and usually ceases after child birth. If you’re an expectant woman, there are simple ways you can minimize the swelling. Below are tips:
- Take pressure off your feet. Refrain from standing for a long period of time. Whenever you’re seated, rotate your ankles from occasionally to prevent blood from being stuck there. During sleep, slightly elevate your legs with pillows.
- Give the vena cava a break. As mentioned, the vena cava is located on the right side of the body so lying on your left side alleviates the pressure and promotes blood flow to reduce pooling.
- Strive to keep cool. Not only your temper but your environment as well. Excessive heat will cause your blood vessels to dilate, allowing it to accommodate more fluids.
- Drink lots of water. The increased fluid retention doesn’t necessarily mean you should reduce water intake. Pregnant women are advised to consume about 2.3 L of fluids a day.
- Cut back on caffeine and sodium. These two are mainly responsible for fluid retention. Sodium promotes the reabsorption of water back into the kidneys while coffee, as a diuretic, causes frequent urination, alarming the body against potential dehydration and causing it to conserve more water.
- Get a foot massage. A good foot massage breaks up tension and increases blood circulation, helping reduce the swelling and occurrence of calf cramps. Give your feet a treat and visit a RMT from Vancouver facilities like Vancity Massage Therapy for a relaxing massage.
Pregnancy doesn’t have to be an arduous period. Follow the abovementioned tips to ease edema discomfort.
When to worry about swelling during pregnancy, Today’s Parent
What causes ankle swelling during pregnancy — and what can I do about it? Mayo Clinic