When you’re pregnant, you can experience discomfort in your legs and feet for a number of reasons! Not only does the body’s blood volume increase up to 50% during pregnancy, but those who are pregnant also have six-times higher risk of developing blood clots (DVT) than those who are not. And surprisingly enough, this risk of blood clots can persist for at least six-weeks postpartum.
Similarly, pregnancy can lead to painful varicose veins and spider veins that result from poor blood circulation, which are very difficult to reverse or treat without medical procedures.
Now, a lot of people chalk up swollen and painful feet and legs as an inevitable symptom of pregnancy, but that doesn’t have to be the case! We’ve rounded up our top 8 tips for keeping your feet and legs happy and healthy during pregnancy, because you know what they say; comfortable feet makes happiness complete! At least we think that’s how the saying goes...
1. Drink more water
It may sound counterintuitive, but by drinking more water you can flush out the extra fluids and sodium that your body is holding on to. Try to aim for the recommended eight glasses of water each day. Keep in mind, however, that eight glasses per day may not be the right amount of water for some, so always listen to your body and consult with your physician.
2. Take frequent breaks to elevate your feet
Elevating your feet can be the easiest way to combat pregnancy swelling. The reason leg elevation helps with swelling is because it uses gravity. If you elevate your feet and legs to a level that is higher than your heart, the force of gravity will help move the fluid in your legs back toward your heart, relieving some of the pressure on your legs and feet.
3. Wear compression socks
Compression socks work to increase circulation in your legs and feet to reduce swelling, pain and contribute to the prevention of varicose veins and spider veins. Wearing compression socks also dramatically reduces the risk of developing blood clots and DVT during pregnancy and after delivery. Dr. Segal’s 15-20mmHg Pregnancy Compression Socks provide the perfect amount of compression level for those who are pregnant and postpartum!
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4. Limit foods high in salt
Salt is made up of sodium and chloride. Sodium binds to the water in our bodies and helps maintain the balance of fluids both within and outside the cells. When you eat foods that are high in salt, your body tends to retain more water. To avoid this, especially during pregnancy when your body is already retaining an excess of water, try to limit the amount of salt you are consuming.
5. Switch to your comfortable shoes
That favourite pair of pumps you have in your closet for special occasions? Leave them right where they are and grab your comfortable pair of flats that stretch to accommodate your growing feet! Did you know that some women report their feet growing as much as a whole shoe-size during pregnancy? No one wants to be squeezing into tight, uncomfortable shoes on a regular day, let alone when you’re pregnant. You’re already uncomfortable enough growing a little human inside you! Choose shoes that provide support and are loose enough that you can comfortably shift your feet around.
6. Eat more potassium-rich foods
Potassium appears to help reduce water retention by decreasing sodium levels, and increasing urine production. Eating foods such as avocados, sweet potatoes, white beans and bananas which are high in potassium can help reduce some of the swelling in your legs, ankles and feet.
7. Regulate your body temperature
During pregnancy you tend to have a slightly higher body temperature. This internal heat leads to swelling, which is exacerbated even more by warm weather. Do your best to keep cool and comfortable by avoiding excess sun, finding air-conditioning when possible, and hydrating with cold beverages.
8. Stay active
When you’re pregnant, finding the energy to get up off the couch can sometimes be all you can muster. But if you’re experiencing swelling in your legs and feet, getting your blood circulating can drastically help. Take a walk down the street, ride an exercise bike, or go for a jog (if this is deemed safe by your doctor). Your feet and legs will thank you for it.
So now that you know all the tips and tricks to keeping your feet and legs happy and healthy you can focus more on enjoying your pregnancy, and forget about any discomfort. Sounds like a win-win to us!
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