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Being on pregnancy #4 now, I’ve learned a lot to prevent swelling from happening at all. I’m going to go over all my tips on preventing swelling during pregnancy that have actually worked really well for me. My first three pregnancies were in the Seattle area, so I didn’t have to deal with humidity, but two of them were in the dead of summer. Now, my fourth pregnancy is in the dead of summer in the hot, humid Florida.
Even if you’re not pregnant during the summer, swelling can be painful and seriously annoying during pregnancy. I know a few mamas who had their feet swell up duiring the final weeks of pregnancy, and many mamas who start swelling in the first trimester, and stay swolen. So what is going on?
Factors that cause swelling during pregnancy:
- Hormonal changes cause water retention
- Fluid is stored for birth, baby and breastfeeding once baby is born
- Serious issues like Preeclemsia can cause sudden swelling of the hands and feet
- Eating more salty foods than usual because of cravings
Most of the time, diet is a big factor in swelling during pregnancy. Many mamas start eating more carb-heavy and salt-heavy foods, which cause your body to hold more water.
Tricks I use to avoid swelling during pregnancy:
Avoid packaged, high-salt foods:
Besides the first trimester, where I basically eat all the chips, cheese and salt to survive, I keep my diet as clean as possible. I often do clean eating challenges for 10-14 days on Instagram, which really help keep me from eating all the processed carbs and salt. I highly recommend grabbing my clean eating challenge here on this blog, or joining us on Instagram! You will find that eating clean also means eating a lot of high-water content foods, which help tremendously.
Eat plenty of high-water content foods:
Fruits and vegetables are your best friends when it comes to avoiding swelling. I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, particularly in the summer. With the extra water inside the food, you are adding to your water and liquid intake, which helps flush out the water your body wants to store. Some of my favorite, high-water content foods include:
- Asparagus (can help get rid of water)
- Ice burg lettuce (mostly water!)
These foods can help you flush water out of your system, and they also offer natural electrolytes, nutrients and fiber to fill you up!
I eat higher protein, lower carb:
By focusing on my protein shakes and higher protein meals, I keep my carbs lower. Carbs will cause you to retain more water. It is a well-known fact in the fitness industry that as soon as you go low carb, you start flushing water out of your system, but you also start needing more water and salt. Many low-carbers will find themselves bloated and swolen after a higher-carb day. This is just the nature of how the nutrients work in our bodies. I do not do extremeley low carb with no fruit. I steer clear of a lot of bread, pastas, crackers, chips and grains. By keeping healthy, high-fiber carbs in my diet, I don’t have the fluctuations in my water retention, but still keep my water retention very low during pregnancy!
My protein shakes are my FAVORITE way to get in my protein, specifically in the morning. I LOVE them. My protien powder, Bump Dust, is specifically formulated to help with cravings, and it has helped me so much! If I start my day with one of these recipes, I literally feel so full and satisfied ALL DAY.
You may also like: The Best Protein Powder Safe For Pregnancy
If you follow me on Instagram, you will see me making a lot of spinach + strawberry protien shakes. For some reason that has been my go-to lately, but I do change it up. I think the huge infusion of vitamins from the fresh spinach and strawberries, with the added vitamins, protien and herbs in my protein powder is so amazing for pregnancy!
I have ice water with me at all times:
This is huge for being in FL during the summer. If you aren’t by the ocean, a pool or somewhere with shade and a breeze, you can easily sweat yourself to death in the heat. By sipping on cold ice water, you will be able to keep yourself so much cooler. I am surviving very well in the heat and humidity by always having ice water with me. This also keeps baby cool, which you don’t want your internal temp to rise and affect your baby.
I try to get 10k steps or more every day:
I do not sit for long periods of time. This is really important to keeping your blood flow going and your system moving. By moving most of the day (except for a few hours of work in the middle of the day), I am able to keep my feet moving, stay upright and keep circulation going. Circulation is really important to swelling as well. There are many affordable step trackers out there you can get to help you keep track of your movement. I’ve found that if I am active with the boys at the beach, park or pool, and I do about 30 minutes of exercise (running on the treadmill, HIIT, walking + strength), then I can hit my step goals. Not always, but most of the time I do.
There are also some things I don’t do, to ensure that I keep from swelling. Here are a list of those things too 🙂
Things I never do, to avoid swelling during pregnancy:
- I never drink sugary sodas
- I never drink sports drinks (with all the sugar)
- I don’t drink any packaged smoothies
- I don’t eat cereal or granola bars (stick to plain oatmeal)
- I don’t use iodized salt when cooking. I only use sea salt
- I don’t eat fatty, hormone-filled meats like cheap ground beef and steaks (get grass-fed, free range etc.). The added hormones can mess with your hormones
- I don’t eat white rice or white potatoes (the carbs are so high and nutrients really low!). Stick to sweet potatoes or quinoa
I really hope this helps you with your swelling during pregnancy. If you’ve already started to swell, there are some things you can do to help it go down!
How to fix your swelling during pregnancy, once it starts:
If you are already swollen, I want you to immediately clean up your diet and follow my tips on low carb, high water foods etc. Just a few days of that can really make a difference! You can also:
- Try sleeping with your feet elevated
- Wear compression stockings (get help finding the right level of compression for you)
- Sit on a ball, rather than an office chair or couch and move your body more
- Do more stretching and yoga
- Massage your legs and arms to get circulation going
- Try dry brushing in the shower to get the lympatic system working
- Drink herbal teas to help flush the water out
Just remember, everything will end! The swelling will stop and baby will arrive before you know it. I repeatedly remind myself that feeling large and uncomfortable is only temporary. It will be over soon. I really hope these tips help you, as they’ve worked for me!