When the body is in pregnant state, it tends to store more water in the tissues for future use. It is this retention of water that is responsible for swelling and bloating in most women. The pregnancy hormones also cause changes in the composition of the blood that makes certain fluids move from the blood into the tissues. Water retention is very common during the first and third trimester of pregnancy. However, the problem gets resolved post partum.
Water retention is not a serious condition during pregnancy but it can be extremely uncomfortable. It can be a difficult task to work with swollen hands and feet. Even clothes, including the undergarments, feel snug against the body. In some cases women find it impossible to wear rings, bracelets and watches.
Here are few tips on how you can deal with water retention during pregnancy:
1. Do not leave your feet hanging off the ground. Either rest them on the floor (for a short while though) or keep them elevated. When sleeping at night, put a pillow under your feet to get them to the same level as your heart.
2. If you are working then don’t sit in one position for too long. Keep taking 5-7 minutes break every 60 minutes to keep the flow of fluids normal in the body. If you are unable to take breaks then rest your feet on a pile of books or newspapers to avoid water retention.
3. Don’t remain standing in the kitchen for too long. If you have to work in the kitchen then keep your one foot on a raised platform or a stool. Keep alternating between both your feet.
4. Sleep on your left side as this won’t put pressure on vena cava, the longest nerve in our body.
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If pressure is applied on vena cava by sleeping on the right side, it results in swelling of hands and feet.
5. Drink loads of water to avoid water retention and for keeping your body hydrated at all times. Pregnant women should drink at least 12-14 glasses of water every day.
6. Go for regular walks as exercising drains the fluid from the tissues and lymph nodes. 20 minutes of walking every day is must for pregnant women; unless you have been advised complete bed rest.
7. Perform leg stretch exercises to relieve the swelling. Sit in a comfortable position and stretch your legs straight out. Now rotate the foot from the ankle in clockwise and anticlockwise positions. This exercise can be done every day to prevent and treat swelling in the legs.
8. Do not wear heels. Wearing heels during pregnancy can cause severe back ache and also damage the tissues. Heels are also responsible for swelling of feet during pregnancy. So avoid them altogether for nine months. Wear flat-heeled sandals or shoes for maximum comfort.
9. Do not wear tight bands and elastics on your legs or pelvis as they can cause blood and water to pool around the specific body part.