Pregnancy is considered to be a beautiful, life-changing experience by most. But that doesn’t mean everything that comes along with pregnancy is beautiful. One of the most notorious side effects of pregnancy is swollen feet. Now, swollen feet while pregnant may seem to be an insignificant problem, but it can often be much more problematic and frustrating than what would seem to be. From your favorite pair of shoes not fitting to the pain that occurs when walking, swollen feet are no joke. Fortunately, there are ways to help reduce swollen feet during pregnancy.
Why you may have swollen feet during pregnancy
Swollen feet during pregnancy is called edema. Edema is the reaction the body has to inflammation while pregnant. While pregnant, the body’s blood volume and bodily fluids increase by 50 percent. The extra fluid is created to ensure that the baby has a surplus of fluid to use whenever needed. The fluid that isn’t actively used by the baby is stored elsewhere throughout the body, besides the uterus. The feet are one of the prime places this fluid can be stored without bringing distress to more sensitive areas of the body. Other common areas in the body that swell are ankles, calves, hands, and the lower half of the face.
Now, what can be done to reduce the appearance of swollen feet during pregnancy?
5 Ways to Reduce Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
1. Don’t Sit or Stand for Long Periods
Being in one position for too long keeps blood from circulating, thus causing the chance for fluid to collect in the feet. This can be a challenge, especially if you have an office job or a super active job, where standing all day long. While working in an office, likely sitting all day, make sure to take small, frequent breaks to stand up and move. This will give a chance for blood to circulate, and for the edema to split more evenly throughout the body.
2. Elevate Feet
Whenever relaxing at home, try to elevate feet on a coffee table or ottoman. Ideally, have the feet resting above where they would align symmetrically with the heart. This elevation will help prevent blood and fluid from flowing to the feet, which causes the edema. There are also many poses in yoga and pilates that have the feet lying in the air. These poses can also be useful for increasing blood flow.
3. Epsom Salt
A helpful way to reduce edema is to soak your feet and ankles in a bath with Epsom salts for 15-20 minutes several times a week. Before putting your feet in the water, check the water temperature with your hand to make sure the bath water is cool. The cool water and Epsom salts will help decrease swelling around the feet and ankles.
4. Drink More Water
This may seem like a strange tip since drinking more water would just add more fluid to the body, but this is not the case. Drinking water helps with ridding oneself of excess fluid in the body. When dehydrated, the kidneys will hold on to any water or fluid that is in the body to prevent entirely running out. Drinking water allows the kidneys to release this excess water, thus not storing extra fluid that isn’t being used for hydrating the body.
5. Drink Less Caffeine
Drinking caffeine is known to cause dehydration, which, as stated previously, will cause the kidneys to hang onto excess fluids. Try to reduce the amount of caffeine ingested per day, which is suggested for pregnancy anyways.
If you are struggling with swollen feet during pregnancy, try any or all of the above tips to make some noticeable progress!