Many women find that towards the end of their pregnancy their legs, ankles, feet and fingers have become swollen and puffy. This kind of swelling (or oedema) is a normal phase of pregnancy, caused by a combination of additional fluid in the body and high levels of progesterone.
While it’s in most cases harmless, it can make the last few weeks of pregnancy very uncomfortable. So here’s some tips to manage this symptom.
Our Exercise Physiologists always prescribe light exercise which is scientifically proven to help circulation and reduce swelling. But as always it should be with the guidance of your Doctor.
Here are a few other easy ways you can treat oedema naturally, from our Naturopath friend Jamie Walsh:
- Juicing: cucumber, celery and parsley all have a diuretic effect and will help to flush excess fluid from the system, while keeping you hydrated. Add some apple or lemon for a refreshing drink
- Move regularly: muscle contractions help to move lymph upwards and away from the extremities where it collects
- Avoid excess salt: this can usually be managed by avoiding processed foods and not salting meals too liberally
- Elevate your legs: when lying down, use a pillow or bolster to raise your legs above the level of the heart to move excess fluid accumulation
- Lymphatic massage: a great way to stimulate the flow and drainage of lymph. Speak to your massage therapist about whether it’s right for you.
Moderate swelling during the third trimester is to be expected, but if you experience sudden and excessive swelling, speak to your doctor immediately.