Sunday, June 22, 2014

Keeping Pregnant Feet Happy

Swelling of the feet and ankles is one of those notorious pregnancy symptoms right up there with morning sickness and back aches.  Needless to say I was not looking forward to this experience.  Twenty-eight weeks came and swelling.  Then thirty, thirty-one, and thirty-two weeks...still no swelling.  At this point I was naive enough to think I might be lucky and skip this whole unpleasantness.  Well then week thirty-three hit, along with a few 96 degree days, and suddenly my ankles more closely resembled those of an elephant!  So the past week instead of writing I have been researching and experimenting with ways to relieve my puffy, hot, and otherwise irritable feet.  Here are some of the methods that I found to be most helpful.

Staying hydrated.  This one sounds funny...if swelling is caused by a retention of fluid then why would we want to drink more water!?  Well as my nurse explained it to me, drinking plenty of water helps to thin the fluid that is being held around the feet and ankles which makes it easier to dissipate.  Plus, staying well hydrated during pregnancy is just good for you anyways.

Drink lemon water.  Lemon is a very effective diuretic so it can help relieve swelling by removing excess water being retained in the feet, ankles, and anywhere else for that matter.  I love lemon to begin with so this was an easy one for me. I not only put a few slices in my water and iced tea, but squeezed it over salads as well. 

Put your feet up. There was never a better excuse to sit back and prop those babies up.  Elevating your feet so that they are above your heart is said to help increase blood flow and reduce the chance of it pooling around the lower extremities.  My nurse also suggested sleeping on my left side to help take pressure off of the main artery that circulates blood to these areas.

Stay active.  I found that swelling was just as bad on days that I laid around this way as it was when I was on my feet all day.  Moving around increases circulation in the body.  This along with stretching also helps to prevent joints from stiffening which I've noticed happens quite easily when sitting in one position for a while.  What worked best for me was a combination of both being up walking around and taking breaks to sit down off and on.

Try aromatherapy. Certain essential oils such as peppermint and citruses can be applied either during massage, as a lotion, or in a spray to refresh them.  I purchased a cooling foot spray from Bath & Body Works that contained peppermint.  It helped relieve the hot, tingly feeling I would get after being on my feet for a while.  I carried this stuff with me everywhere and used it often.

Put 'em on ice.  Some would argue that using ice for this kind of swelling is not actually beneficial.  More often my feet were not necessarily swollen, but just hot and achy.  The feeling of an ice pack wrapped in a soft towel under my toes was amazing.  Since I spend a lot of time at my computer I would place it on the floor under my desk and rest my feet on it.  So whether it truly helped or not I don't know, but it sure felt like it did.

DISCLAIMER: The content on this blog,, represents the thoughts, ideas, and experiences of its author and should be taken as such…with a grain of salt.  It is for entertainment purposes only and not intended to prevent, diagnose, or cure.  Before trying any new physical activity, dietary plan, supplementation, complementary and alternative therapy, or other wellness tip please seek the guidance of a qualified professional.

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