When you carry new life inside of you, your body responds by working overtime, producing roughly 50 percent more blood and other fluids to support your baby. As a result, you may notice that things begin to feel and look a little fuller than usual. Specifically, you may notice swelling in the ankles, face, feet, hands and legs.
Swelling during pregnancy is not uncommon during any time of year, but it is particularly pronounced during the hot summer months. The high heat of the season can exacerbate swelling, especially in the ankles and feet.
Tips to Reduce Swelling
Before you get too discouraged by the extra volume of your body, remember that expanding at a healthy rate is critical for your baby’s development. Strive to embrace getting bigger while also keeping swelling in check by following some simple tips:
- Don’t spend too much time in the heat. If you’re at the beach or pool, take regular breaks and cool off in air conditioning or by plunging into cool water.
- Exercise regularly. Keep your blood circulating and your body moving by swimming and taking early morning or evening walks.
- Explore shoe options. Stilettos may have been your go-to shoe before pregnancy, but they can make swelling worse and squeeze your feet excessively. Take time to shop around for more comfortable options that offer support and room.
- Hydrate plenty and often. Keep a cold water bottle with you at all times, and take sips throughout the day.
- Say no to salt. Sodium can make matters worse when it comes to swelling, causing you to retain excess fluids.
- Try not to sit or stand for long periods of time. Alternate between standing and sitting as often as possible—bonus points if you can lie down on your left side.
Remember, you won’t be pregnant forever. Even when you’re at your most uncomfortable, keep your eye on the finish line.