What is postpartum edema (swelling)?
Swelling in the legs, feet, hands are common and can be noticed during pregnancy and even after childbirth. The is caused by an increase in the blood volume which helps to protect your growing baby. This excess blood volume causes fluid retention in the body of the mother and it causes blood dilution and reduces the concentration of proteins.
These extra fluids aren’t completely expelled during childbirth. So fluid retention, hormonal changes, and extra blood volume together cause swelling up in the mother's body which is called postpartum edema.
What causes postpartum swelling?
- Postpartum swelling is normal for an expecting mother and this happens due to many reasons.
- The increased size of the uterus takes some time to get back to its normal size.
- The increased production of the hormone progesterone.
- The pressure caused during a vaginal birth causes puffiness and swelling in the body.
- Any IV fluids given are can also cause postpartum edema.
How will you know if you’re suffering postpartum edema?
There are a few symptoms that indicate if you’re suffering from postpartum edema.
- Swelling and puffiness from moderate to the extreme on parts of the body.
- Puffiness, shine, and inflammation has appeared on the swollen parts.
- The skin gets sunk and created a crater when it is pressed.
How to cure postpartum swelling?
To cure postpartum edema, there are many natural home remedies that you can try.
#1. Consume more fluids
While this may sound contrary during postpartum swelling, you should drink more fluids. It is really helpful in treating fluid retention in your body. Inadequate amount of water can actually cause your body to maintain more fluid to worse your condition. Drinking more water will help in flushing out extra water accumulated in your body and in removing toxins from your body.
Also Read: 11 Remedies For swollen feet during pregnancy
#2. Follow a healthy diet
Following a healthy diet during and post pregnancy is very important for a mother. By eating properly, the mother can flush out extra fluids from her body. A healthy provides higher energy levels for the new baby too. The foods consumed must be rich in protein, potassium, and complex carbohydrates. Make sure to avoid processed foods as they are high in sodium which causes water retention.
#3. Elevate hands and feet
Try resting your hands and feet in an elevated position for about half an hour on a daily basis. The blood in the body should flow freely, so raise your hands above the level of your heart from time to time. This will help to decrease the swelling.
#4. Do exercise
Exercise helps to improve circulation in the body as it helps to remove excess fluids from the body through sweat. Performing exercise doesn't only mean sweating in the gym, but taking regular walks also helps. Before trying out any new exercise regime, take the approval of your doctor.
To cure postpartum edema, foot and leg massage works great. Massaging your foot improves circulation and cuts off the build-up of any excess fluid. To massage properly, begin from the bottom to up. Grape seed oil is a good essential oil which you can add to carrier oils like coconut oil for massaging.
#6. Stay cool
Staying cool is very important during and after giving birth to the baby. Heat can worsen your post partum swelling. Stay indoors as much as possible and allow a good airflow and ventilation in the room all day.
#7. Use cabbage
Putting cabbage leaves over the swollen area provides relief as cabbage leaves draw out the excess fluids from that area. Take green leaves of a cabbage, clean it with water, and put it in the fridge. Then, wrap the cool leaves over the swollen parts for quick relief.
Also Read: 9 Home Remedies to Reduce Hair Fall during and after Pregnancy
#8. Maintain proper posture
Always sit properly in a proper posture. Avoid standing for a long time and avoid sitting with your legs crossed. While lying down, elevate your feet by putting a pillow beneath your feet. This posture helps in improving circulation and provide relief in swelling.
#9. Prefer herbal tea
Herbal tea over regular tea works best. Mommies should take herbal tea during postpartum period as herbal tea prevents fluids from retention. Dandelion tea or Tulsi tea are great choices.
#10. Soak your feet
Soaking your feet in a mixture of aromatherapy oil and water helps to reduce swelling. Add some drops of lavender or chamomile oil to reduce discomfort. The cypress oil improves the blood flow and also prevents varicose veins.
Also Read: Diet Plan After C-Section - What to eat & What to avoid
#11. Try acupuncture
Foot reflexology and acupuncture helps to reduce swelling and discomfort caused by edema. Acupuncture, which is a traditional Chinese medicine re-balances the internal energies and improve circulation in the body and kidney function.
Mommies, be sure to avoid wearing tight fitting clothes as they hinder the blood flow that results in causing swelling. Lying down on your side also improves blood circulation which will reduce swelling. In case swelling doesn’t subsidize within the first 6 weeks post childbirth then do consult a doctor.
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