Secret tricks to reduce swelling during pregnancy

January 17, 2012 12:00 AM by

Swelling generally starts to occur around the fifth month of pregnancy and increases during the third trimester. Approximately 25 percent of an expectant mom's weight gain consists of fluid. This spike is attributed to a larger blood volume, which facilitates the transfer of nutrients and waste between mother and child, as well as body fluids that help the body expand to accommodate the baby.

If you're tired of barely being able to fit into your shoes or can't stand the sight of your enlarged ankles and feet, there are some secret tips to help reduce the level of fluid retention. Although swelling will occur as a necessary side effect of pregnancy, you can prevent it from becoming a massive discomfort by making a few changes.

Give those dogs a rest
One of the key solutions is to alter the way you sit and lie down. Try to keep your feet elevated as much as possible to avoid cutting off circulation. You can place a foot stool or a stack of books underneath your desk at work to bring some relief. Furthermore, don't cross your legs or stand for long periods of time.

Kiss constricting clothes goodbye
Clothes that cinch tight around your body, especially at the waist or wrists, can cause fluid to get trapped. Stick to comfortable, loose garments and shoes (avoid high heels if possible). Investing in waist high maternity stockings can also alleviate swelling. This special type of hosiery distributes an even amount of pressure across the lower body.

Diet and exercise are key
Counterintuitive though it may seem, increasing your water consumption can actually help you retain less fluid. What you eat also has an effect – decrease your sodium and junk food intake. As always, regular exercise offers numerous benefits, including the reduction of swelling. However, try not to spend too much time outdoors in the sweltering summer heat, which can cause further discomfort.

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