Swelling during and after pregnancy, also known as edema, can be very normal, although it can be quite uncomfortable. According to Healthline, about three-quarters of pregnant women are affected by edema. They would usually experience it from the 22nd week of pregnancy, depending on what the major cause is. For others, it can happen as soon as the first trimester.
So what exactly causes edema?
One of the major causes of edema is water retention. Pregnant women’s bodies retain a lot of water that causes them to swell either on their face or their legs and feet. According to Medical News Today, pregnant women produce 50% more water than normal.
For first and second trimester mothers, increasing hormones and the hot weather contribute to puffy feet.
How to get some relief?
Lower your sodium intake and increase your potassium
In simple English, eat less salt and eat more potassium-rich foods including:
- Cooked spinach
- Cooked broccoli
- Sweet potatoes
Your body is already retaining water when you are pregnant, and salt does the same thing. So eating a lot of salt become counterproductive.
Drink more water
This may sound as counterproductive as eating salt, but “dehydration makes the body hold on to extra water” according to Medical News Today.
Healthline encourages pregnant women to get their circulation going by walking for at least 5-10 minutes a day. This will decrease the swelling significantly.
Elevate your legs
To improve more circulation, you can elevate your feet. Not only do fluids rush to the feet when standing, but you are also exerting weight on your legs, which may increase your swelling.
So kick your feet up and relax after that walk.
Wear loose clothing
According to Healthline “wearing tight clothing, especially around your wrists, waist, and ankles, can make swelling worse”. To encourage more circulation and less swelling, ensure that the clothes you wear are loose and comfortable.