Mild swelling due to the accumulation of fluids in the tissue is normal during the third trimester of pregnancy, especially in the heat of summer. You may notice that your shoes are feeling tighter and that your rings are starting to get uncomfortable. Fluid often accumulates in the hands and feet. So what can you do to alleviate some of this swelling?
1. Be active. Take regular stretch breaks and move around; this activity helps to get your blood moving.
2. Go vertical. Try to elevate your feet several times each day and do ankle circles to increase circulation.
3. Sleep on your side. If you don't already do so, sleep on your left side to help your kidneys work more efficiently.
4. Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. It may seem strange to drink water when you are trying to reduce the swelling in your body, but staying well hydrated is important for many reasons, including helping your system flush out waste. Fill a container with approximately half a gallon (or about 2 liters) of water and place it in the refrigerator. If you prefer room temperature water then just keep it on the kitchen counter or your desk at work. The presence of the container will remind you to drink throughout the day. I can't stress enough how important hydration is for everyone, but especially if you are pregnant.
5. Cut carbs. Reducing the amount of carbohydrates you consume could help to reduce swelling since carbohydrates hold more water than fat and proteins. If you love bagels, bread, and pasta, switch to whole grain versions (which will also offer a fiber boost). You may notice a difference in taste at first but your taste buds will soon get used to the new flavor and you'll satisfy that carb craving in a much healthier way.
6. Go for your flats. Put away your fashionable heels and opt for comfortable flat shoes. Wearing support hose can also be helpful and provide some relief to swollen legs.
Note: If swelling comes on suddenly, is excessive (especially in the face), or is accompanied by a headache, blurred vision, or spots in front of your eyes, call your health care provider. Most of the time swelling is normal, but occasionally it could be a sign of a medical condition called preeclampsia. If you are ever concerned, do not hesitate to check in with your health care provider.
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