Edema is a swelling, usually of the legs, feet, and/or hands due to the accumulation of excessive fluid in the tissues. It is especially common around 22 to 27 weeks of pregnancy and affects about three quarters of pregnant women.
During pregnancy, your body fluids increase in order to support both you and your baby. They accumulate in your tissues as a result of increased blood flow and there is additional pressure of your growing uterus on the veins in your pelvis as well as your vena cava. The vena cava is this large vein that returns blood to the heart from your lower limbs. If it is blocked, there can be fluid retention and swelling in your lower limbs.
In order to get circulation running efficiently again, we recommend healthy dose of exercises daily. Moderate cardio is essential to reduce swelling during pregnancy. It can be as simple as a 30-minute brisk walk most days of the week. If you have access to a pool, alternate brisk walk days with 30 minutes of swimming. The pressure from the water can help get things moving in your legs, and floating gives your circulatory system a break from gravity’s constant pull. Frequent, moderate cardiovascular exercise does wonders for circulation and blood flow. Of course, avoid long hours of standing or sitting and keep those legs elevated on a pillow for at least 10 minutes everyday.
The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt is easily absorbed through the skin and helps improve circulation, reduce swelling and relieve those muscle cramps. Many mothers recommend soaking the feet in a warm bath of Epsom salt twice a week. Simply mix half a cup of Epsom salt in a foot tub filled with warm water and soak your swollen feet in for 15 minutes.
Lastly, drinking warm lemon water, which is mildly diuretic, helps flush out excess fluid and toxins from your body. This can help reduce swelling in the feet and other areas of the body caused by water retention. In addition, it helps keep the body hydrated and provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
Patients often come for acupuncture, which helps to treat the edema in a systemic way. The way we needles the legs help stimulate the lymphatic bottle neck in the inner side of the calves. However, patients also have the alternative of further precision with our Lymphatic Drainage Therapist, who will figure out the exact site of congestion and clear them.