Swollen feet, swollen fingers, swollen hands, swollen lower back, swollen face – the swelling of various extremities and other body parts are fairly common side effects of pregnancy, captured under the umbrella term of edema. Although it's not harmful, and most of the time disappears immediately after you deliver your baby, it can still be really annoying and can cause shoes, rings, and other important items of clothing not to fit. If you're looking for some at-home remedies for edema during pregnancy, then here's what you need to know.
Watch what you eat
This goes without saying in pregnancy, of course, but what you eat can definitely impact your body more in these 9 months than at any other time. In order to prevent swelling as much as possible, try to include a bit of protein in every meal – shoot for roughly 25 grams per meal, for a total of 70 grams per day – and cut down on anything with a high salt content. The more salt you put in your body, the more you'll retain fluids and the worse the swelling will get. Finally, try to lean on foods with Vitamins E and C to keep yourself as healthy and non-inflamed as possible.
Water, water everywhere
As odd and as counter-productive as it might seem, one of your best home remedies for combating water retention is to increase the amount of water in your life, both that you drink and that you spend time in. Drinking more water allows you to flush more water out of your system, which (rather counter intuitively) will help reduce swelling in your extremities. Along with that, try to go swimming a few times a week; not only is any exercise in the water (such as deep water aerobics) low- to no-impact, but being immersed in water can help reduce swelling, even if it's only temporary.
When you're sitting or lying down – which happens more and more often the closer you get to the date of your delivery – it's a very good idea to prop up your swelling feet and ankles so that they're above your heart (or, if it's easier to remember, above your hips). Don't make yourself uncomfortable – simply prop them up on a pillow when lying or sitting in order to stop blood from pooling in them and making the swelling worse. Don't cross your legs at the knees or ankles when doing this; that will restrict the blood flow which will only make things more swollen.
If your edema or any other pregnancy-related issue is worrying you, schedule an ultrasound at a company like EVDI Medical Imaging.