Swelling During Pregnancy
One of the less than glamorous symptoms of pregnancy is swelling. While most of the time, swelling is a completely normal part of growing a tiny human, sometimes it is not, and usually it is pretty uncomfortable. We must say we are not medical professionals and please always defer to your doctor or midwife about medical questions or concerns. As doulas and massage therapists, we can provide you options to ease the pressure from swelling and hopefully provide some relief, as well as red flags to look for to know when you should seek medical attention.
Ways to Help Swelling During Pregnancy
Swelling normally happens in the third trimester as your body is begin to prepare for birth. If you have spoken with your medical team to ensure that your particular swelling is normal, the following are a few of our favorite ways to decrease the pressure and possibly reduce the swelling you may be experiencing.
Kinesiology Taping: We are excited to now offer this service to our clients as on add on when they receiving a massage! Taping your ankles can help reduce swelling and encourage movement of fluid away from your feet and legs. The way the tape lifts the top layer of your skin allows for more movement that can help reduce swelling. Schedule your massage and add on kinesiology taping online now!
Compression Socks: Compression socks are common for runners and for those with varicose veins, but they work wonders to relieve some of the pressure from pregnancy. As an added bonus, they even come in fun colors! Just be warned, it might be a two person job to get your socks on if you are approaching 40 weeks!
Laying with Feet Elevated: If you lay with your feet above your heart, blood flow will be encouraged to return to your heart, and away from the sight of swelling. This is a great excuse to lay down and relax for a bit, even if the house is messy or laundry needs to be done.
Massage Therapy: Massage is a great way to increase circulation in the body, and encourage blood flow back to the heart. Our massage therapist normally using the long strokes of Swedish massage, always going towards the heart, to help elevate
Foot Massage by Your Partner: If you cannot make it into our office for a full massage, having your partner massage your feet and legs will make a huge difference. Partners should be massaging towards the heart to encourage fluid movement back through the body. An added bonus of a partner massage is that it is a great way to spend some quality time together before a newborn is added to the mix.
Chilled Cabbage Leaves: Pop a few cabbage leaves in the freezer and then place them on your legs or feet to help relieve some of the pressure from excess swelling.
Staying well hydrated: Putting more water into your body when you are retaining fluid seems like it is counterintuitive, but staying well hydrated will flush your body and can help reduce swelling. Plus, staying well hydrated during pregnancy is always important. Just make sure you don’t stray too far from the nearest bathroom!
Using Cold Compresses: Cold compresses on your swollen legs and feet not only plus blood and fluid away from the area, it can also just feel good. As a warning, avoid keeping the cold compresses on your skin too long as excess cold can provide the opposite effect and actually cause more fluid retention. 10-15 minutes should be enough time to provide relief, while still be recommended.
Avoiding excessive heat: When your body is retaining water, avoiding situations that would cause your body to natural retain fluid like excess heat is always a good idea.
Red Flags for Swelling During Pregnancy
While most of the time swelling during pregnancy is normal, we always encourage speaking to your medical provider when you have a health concern. Furthermore, the following symptoms can be a sign of concern and we recommend calling your medical provider if you notice any of the following.
Sudden swelling: As with any acute symptom, whenever you first notice a new symptom, it is always recommended that you let your medical provider know about the change. It is especially important to take note if the swelling happens very quickly.
Uneven swelling: Uneven swelling can be a sign that something is impacting the flow of blood and/or fluid to a particular area, which can cause problems if left untreated. Speaking with your medical team can rule out any other issues that may be causing the uneven swelling.
Unusually pain in your body: Pain is never normal, and always a reason to speak with your doctor or midwife to help learn about what is causing the pain.
Redness and/or heat: The presence of redness and/or heat on the skin can be a sign of an infection, and that is something that should always be discussed with your medical team.