During pregnancy (especially the later months)- your body retains an average of 5-10 lbs water weight.Your feet will most likely swell and look enlarged most commonly and you will carry most of the water weight in your legs, ankles, and feet.. After pregnancy it is still normal for you to experience swelling, through the postpartum phase. Swelling experienced after and during pregnancy is known as edema. Although postpartum edema usually dissipates after about 6 weeks out of having the baby, there are other ways and things you can try to expedite the process and keep the swelling in control.
Swollen Feet After Pregnancy: The Causes
Every woman’s amount of swelling and experience with edema (swollen feet after pregnancy) varies individually. It can be mild and it can be severe. When much water weight in the body is retained, it can make your skin feel tight and uncomfortable. Serous edema can also be demonstrated through placing your fingertip on your legs or feet- if it is bad it usually will create an indentation where you placed pressure of your finger on the top of the foot, calf, or ankle.
Although it is most often seen in the feet, legs, ankles- edema can also impact the hands, abdomen, and show in the face. Because of carrying the extra weight while you are pregnant, the weight results in excess restriction for water and blood flow to be transported.
After birth, in the postpartum period- you still may experience this type of swelling due to hormonal changes, IV’s given during labor, medication & anesthesia, and more.
Swollen Feet After Pregnancy: In Time it Drains
Swollen feet after pregnancy will usually recede and diminish in time (a week or so.) Sometimes it may take even longer depending on the situation. Your kidneys have been under duress through the pregnancy housing an entire new life and body inside you. After birth as your body is returning to normal- your kidneys will also process excess fluids no longer needed by way of urination. The body also takes care of other excess fluids through the action of sweating.
Cause for Concern
Typically, swelling after pregnancy of the extremities is no cause for great concern. It is quite common, actually. However, there are other factors where edema can be serious after pregnancy and in this cases it is important to notify your physician promptly if swelling is still existent a 10 or more days after having the baby. Also you should consult with your doctor if you experience any of the following signs:
- Headache that does not go away
- Problems urinating or lack thereof
- Leg pain (sharp or consistent)
Blood and fluids flows to the extremities naturally as gravity pushed downward. You can alleviate some swelling and water retention by resting enough to let your body sweat and diffuse out the extra fluids left from pregnancy. Additionally, it is also a good idea if you when sitting that you elevate your legs it will decrease the pressure off of your feet, ankles, and calves.
Foot Soak/Spa or Bath
If your feet feel sore, achy and they are too puffy to stand. You can gain some relief from soaking them in a sit bath. You can combine the soak with epsom salts, and essential oils for that added ambiance and relaxation.
Over the Counter Diuretic
This should only be used when you are taking in plenty of fluids, and while not breastfeeding! You can get an over the counter diuretic that can help you flush the extra water weight and take the swelling down. But, be prepared to urinate quite often!
Swelling is often the result of poor diet, lack of activity, excess IV fluids, and more. You can take a few steps and make a few changes that may help your swollen feet after pregnancy condition subside. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Avoid Salt at all costs! Excessive Salt can make you swollen, puffy, and lead to edema and water retention. It can make you retain more water weight than anything, especially when you are dehydrated or breast feeding and losing body fluids daily.
- Increase Fluid Intake, H20! Not drinking enough to supplement your body’s changes after and during pregnancy can cause your body to hold on to the fluids it has for storage-retaining purposes.Drinking enough fluids and staying amply hydrated will allow your body to flush excess fluids and to be able to process water and fluid more optimally.
- Consume Natural Diuretics. If your breast-feeding than taking an OTC diuretic can worsen your fluid retention and cause harm to the child by way of the supplement transferring through breast milk used to nourish the baby. Instead drink herbal teas, DECAF coffee, and it should also help you flush the water weight!
- Eat a Well Balanced Diet. Stay away from processed foods with preservatives, chemicals, and much sodium content. Instead focus on eating good foods, NOT empty calories! Eat fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats (fish, turkey, chicken)- and try to gain more essential protein.