Swelling During Pregnancy

What causes swelling during pregnancy?

Mild swelling is perhaps the most common side effect of being pregnant, and because of gravity, will likely occur most noticeably in your ankles and feet.  If swelling occurs much more in one leg than the other, or excessively in your face or hands, you should contact your doctor immediately, as this may be a sign of preeclampsia.

Edema is most common in the third trimester, towards the end of the day, and may be worse during the summer months. The cause is your body's natural tendency to retain fluids which help nurture both you and your baby.  Also, your growing uterus puts pressure on your pelvic area and inhibits the flow of your vena cava, which carries blood from your lower extremities back to your heart. The inhibited flow of this blood vessel causes fluid retention and also blood pooling (see Varicose Veins and Pregnancy).

How can you naturally manage swelling during pregnancy?

Some ways to manage edema during pregnancy:

  • lying on your side to relieve pressure on your veins (lying on your left side is best as the vena cava is on the right side of your body)
  • avoiding long periods of standing or sitting
  • wearing comfortable shoes and slippers
  • wearing support hose such as waist-high maternity stockings
  • drinking plenty of water (it actually helps reduce the edema)
  • exercise, such as mild yoga helps get the fluids moving back to the heart
  • acupuncture and TCM: the acupuncture helps resolve the edema and improves blood flow, while herbs such as dandelion (Pu Gong Ying) help remove some of the excess fluid as well
  • diet modification, such as reducing your salt intake, can have a great effect
  • prenatal massage therapy is very effective in reducing edema in the lower extremities

Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you with edema during your pregnancy.

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