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5 Ways to Reduce Pregnancy Puffiness and Swelling

If you have already had one child, then you know the drill. Pregnancy puffiness and swelling are all part of the deal that comes with bringing new life into the world. With all the joys of waiting for your baby to arrive, including the so-called glow, you also experience the annoying puffiness and swelling.

 If you are pregnant and uncomfortable, consider these 5 ways to reduce said pregnancy puffiness and swelling.

Why Does Pregnancy Cause Fluid Retention?

close up of pregnant woman's swollen ankles

The typical places that become puffy and swollen are the ankles, feet, legs, fingers, and even the face. Fluid retention is annoying, to be sure, but it’s a necessary evil. Extra fluid builds up during pregnancy as hormones change, which helps to soften the body so it can more easily expand as the baby and uterus grow.

This normal swelling is known as edema and it begins about halfway through pregnancy with the worst symptoms in the third trimester.  

Reduce Pregnancy Puffiness and Swelling by Eating Right

Yes, you hear this all the time, but it is especially important when pregnant. So, what exactly does “eating right” mean?

Reducing your salt (sodium) intake will go a long way to keep down the swelling. Be especially conscientious about eliminating prepackaged foods. It may seem easy to grab them when fixing a quick meal, but they are loaded with salt, fat, and sugar. Canned foods, snacks, chips, and luncheon meats should be off the menu during pregnancy. Sorry, ladies.

It is also recommended to avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks as they tend to cause water retention.

Try to eat more lean proteins like fish, poultry, turkey, or beef. You can also pair these proteins with lots of fresh or frozen vegetables.

Increase your potassium by eating bananas, sweet potatoes, avocado, and kidney beans. Potassium helps to reduce swelling by keeping your body chemically balanced.

Stay Hydrated

Choose healthy and natural diuretic foods when the urge to snack hits you. It may seem counterintuitive, but staying hydrated is an easy way to keep fluids moving through the kidneys and out of the body.

Cranberry juice, asparagus, celery, artichoke, carrots, watermelon, cabbage, apple cider vinegar, and lemons are all natural diuretics.  

Of course drink water, the best of all your hydration options.

Keep Your Blood Flowing

Regular and simple exercise like swimming and walking can help with fluid retention. Standing in water for 20 minutes will decrease swelling.

Ditch your heels for now and wear comfortable shoes, and don’t stand on your feet for long periods of time without moving. Use orthotic inserts in your shoes to reduce leg and lower back pain, and avoid crossing your legs while pregnant as it restricts blood flow.

Other tips include sleeping on your left side to encourage blood to return to the heart, and elevating your legs whenever possible. Swelling gets worse at the end of the day so take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to put some pillows under your legs and relax. You deserve it.

Stay Cool Whenever Possible

Being pregnant during the summer heat makes for a tough couple of months. The heat will help everything to “balloon.” Rings that fit –  won’t any more. Even your shoes will get tight. The best remedy is to stay indoors if possible and remain cool.

Feel free to use cold compresses and cool towels.

Reduce Pregnancy Puffiness and Swelling with Massage

Massage is truly the trifecta of relief for a puffy pregnant lady. It will make improvements in your circulation as it aids in blood flow to the heart. In addition, it helps to excrete water and impurities through the kidneys.

Choose a soothing oil you like. Cypress, chamomile, or lavender oil are all very relaxing and calming. Find a professional masseuse or sweet talk your spouse into giving you regular massages to relieve your discomfort throughout pregnancy.

See Women’s Care of Alaska if you have concerns about pregnancy puffiness and swelling, or if your face becomes excessively swollen.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (907) 279-2273 today!