Summer is finally here! With this heat wave our clients are also complaining of an increase in swelling in their hands and feet. This is common in pregnancy especially during the summer months but can be very uncomfortable and difficult to manage. Here are some tips we suggest:
1. Elevate your feet
We have heard this before but most people don’t do it correctly. To help with circulation you need to elevate your feet above your heart. Resting your feet on the ottoman likely won’t cut it. You need to lie down and put your feet up in the air. A great way to do this is by lying in bed and placing your feet up against the headboard. Another way to do this is to lie on the floor with your feet up against the wall. Do this for 15-20 minutes and repeat a couple times throughout your evening.
2. Contrast hot/cold foot baths
Prepare two basins of water. One with warm water and one with VERY cold water. You can add ice cubes if you can handle it to make this process even more effective. Place your feet in the warm water for 1-2 minutes then place your feet in the cold for 30 seconds. Repeat this process 2-3 times. The warm water will relax the blood vessels and the cold water will constrict the blood vessels. This creates a pumping action that helps return the extra fluid to the heart.
Massage helps increase circulation and therefore can help decrease fluid retention. Asking a partner for a massage is great or even better book a full body massage with a Registered Massage Therapist who specializes in prenatal massage. Many of our clients notice a huge decrease in swelling after an R.M.T. treatment.
4. Drink more water
This seems counterintuitive since your body is retaining water but consuming water actually flushes out toxins and extra fluid that is not needed. Staying hydrated in pregnancy is very important for baby and is especially true in the summer months. If you are looking for more creative ways to stay hydrated other than plain H20; try real juice popsicles, your favourite chilled herbal tea, water infused with fruit or veggies or soda water.
5. Decrease your carbs and increase protein
Carbohydrates hold fluid in the cells where protein takes the fluid out of the cells. This dietary change can make a big difference in how much extra fluid you retain.
Hope you find these suggestions helpful. Remember that this is temporary and that after you meet your baby these discomforts will be a thing of the past. Before we know it, we will be dealing with snow! So let’s try to enjoy the summer as best we can.