Every woman responds a little different to pregnancy. Some have horrible nausea, others get Braxton hicks contractions, or heartburn. During my pregnancies, one of the symptoms I struggle with most is swelling, or edema. It affects my whole legs, ankles, and feet, and sometimes even my wrists and hands.
I’ve searched high and low for ways to help reduce the swelling and prevent it in the first place. Some of the things helped, and some didn’t do anything at all. I’ll share more about why it happens, and the tips I’ve found most effective for reducing pregnancy swelling.
During pregnancy, our lymphatic fluid increases by about 50% to keep toxins moving to the exits. Under normal circumstances, our bodies have more lymph fluid than blood. Blood circulates in the body because of the heart pumping it. Lymphatic fluid circulates through movement, muscle contractions, and gravity.
We have lymph nodes throughout the body – like train stations for lymphatic fluid. There are many in our collarbone area, neck, behind the ears (you may have noticed they get swollen and tender when you feel sick). But there are more nodes in our underarm area, behind the knees, and at the groin.
Put your feet up. As much as possible, when you have to sit, elevate your feet. Doesn’t necessarily have to be 90 degrees up a wall, but level or slightly higher than your hips helps a lot.
Walk. one of the best ways to pump lymphatic fluid is the walking motion. Not only does it help with overall fitness levels, energy, and endurance, it’s how our bodies were designed to pump the fluid. If outdoor walking is a challenge, a treadmill is a great option. I also love an elliptical for lower impact motion.
Calf Raises. If you can’t get out for a walk right at the moment, do some calf raises – both legs together, or alternating feet.
Water. Drinking water helps to keep the lymphatic fluid moving and not stagnant. Keep hydrating!
Tangerine Vitality in water. Adding a drop or two of tangerine vitality to a glass of water throughout the day really helps keep things moving.
Ningxia Red. One thing I’ve noticed is that on days I’ve had a little extra Ningxia red, I have less swelling. It’s loaded with healthy minerals that get carried by the lymphatic fluid, and contains several different citrus oils, including tangerine.
Homemade massage oil/lotion. In a about 2 oz of carrier oil like Young Living’s V6, or coconut oil, add 3-5 drops each of lavender, lemon, cypress, geranium, and tangerine oils. When my legs have swollen, I’ll use this to massage and move the fluid toward the lymph nodes. I also use it as my daily moisturizer to keep things moving all the time.
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