Apart from meeting your little one, women also wait for the delivery as it comes with relief from many physical uncomfortableness. Its okay! You can be honest here and its not something to be ashamed of. Carrying a whole baby and growing it in your body would definitely had given you a tough time and uncomfortable feelings, especially in the legs as your legs have been carrying your entire body weight. You can observe having swollen feet after birth in combination with many other bodily changes.
Since your body has just been through a trauma of child birth, you should start taking care of your body and deal with the changes as well as look out for the warning signs that may appear such as swelling. Take care of your diet and well-being and let your body recover.
What is Postpartum Swelling?
The postpartum swelling in your body is caused due to the accumulation of fluid in different parts such as your legs and feet and can be helped by drinking water and keeping yourself hydrated to get rid of the extra fluid. Although common, but postpartum swelling gets worse in the first week post-delivery, it usually improves with the passage of time.
To prevent any complications and other problems in your body, it is important that you keep your body active and healthy. So, take a walk and do some light post-partum exercises but be careful that you don’t overdo your body. Having swelled feet after birth is normal but too much swelling could be alarming and in such cases you should consult your doctor. Usually, the feet swelling decreases but if not and you feel that the swelling is getting painful, seek professional advice.
What are the Different Types of Postpartum Swelling?
Even though swollen feet are the common type of postpartum swelling and can at times be alarming if the swelling in feet onset is sudden followed by pain, we should also educate you about the other types of swelling that may occur in your body just so you can be cautious about it.
You don’t need to worry if you feel like your breasts have swelled up which mostly does during and post pregnancy as they’re filled with milk. Due to the production of milk the breast size increases and may cause discomfort but once you start nursing your little one, the pain would decrease to a satisfactory extent.
Hemorrhoids are painful and may cause bleeding after a bowel movement, now what is hemorrhoids? It is basically the swelling either in a vein in the rectum or can be developed during delivery while pushing out the baby. These could be itchy and you can soothe them by applying cold witch hazel. Usually, they shrink down but in case they don’t, you should consult a doctor. Some ways you can help your hemorrhoids are as follows:
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Take a warm bath
- Don’t force out your poop
- Use OTC (over the counter) creams and spray for pain
- Consume foods that are rich in fiber such as whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables
DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis):
The formation of a blood clot in your body, usually in the lower region is referred as deep vein thrombosis. The swollen feet after birth that you notice could be a possible sign of DVT. Signs of these could be tenderness, warmth, pain and redness along with swelling. Then, if one of your legs seem to be swelled more than the other one, you should immediately seek medical attention.
How can you Naturally Treat Postpartum Swelling?
Since now your body needs to recover from the trauma, you should start taking care of it and there are some home remedies that can help you in easing the swelling.
It might sound a bit weird as how consuming water can help lose water weight, but your body holds on to the water when you’re dehydrated, water weight is easily lost when you keep yourself hydrated. Other than that, water clears out the toxins from the body and keeps your kidneys healthy improving your overall health after pregnancy and encourages recovery.
Moving your body around and doing light exercises helps your body remain active and promotes blood and water circulation in the body thus preventing pooling. Make sure the exercises you perform are light and easy and shouldn’t cause too much stress or pain in your body. Some exercises that are helpful post pregnancy are:
- Aqua natal classes
Along with exercise as a means of circulation improvement, elevating your legs above your heart level can also do the job and reduce the swelling in your legs. Naturally, when you stand, fluids rush down to the legs and elevating them can only temporarily help in reducing the swelling and improving circulation. Try avoiding restricted positions which would block the circulation such as sitting with your legs crossed.
Loose Fit Clothing
We know that you feel insecure about your body after having your baby but its okay, don’t focus on that for now, instead work on yourself and your health. Good circulation is essential for a speedy recovery and tight fitting clothing can restrict them to a great extent. Make sure you wear loose fit clothing and don’t worry; they would cover up your stomach folds!
Wearing compression stocking causes the blood vessels in the legs to constrict increasing the blood flow in the legs. To support the statement, studies show that the compression tights actually help in reducing the legs swelling and improves and increases blood flow. This would especially help the swelling in your feet. The compression tights/stockings can be bought online or purchased at pharmacies.
Avoid Caffeinated Drinks:
Caffeine can potentially cause dehydration by losing the water from the body and to compensate, the body avoids too much loss by water retention. Instead of having caffeinated drinks or coffee, go for healthier choices such as fresh fruit juice or herbal tea which would also nourish your body.
Avoid the Use of Salt:
Again, salt would cause water retention in the body so you should make sure that the body’s salt and water balance is maintained at all times. What kinds of foods contain salt? Well, most of the processed foods do, like cakes, crisps, drinks etc. even if you do want to consume these, keep a track of how much you are consuming to maintain the water balance as well. You can always check the amount of salt you are consuming with each product by checking the packaging contents.
Consume Foods that are Rich in Potassium:
Why? Well, you need to lower the sodium levels, right? Consuming potassium rich foods would naturally decrease sodium levels in the body and the water-sodium balance can be maintained. Some rich sources of potassium are as follows:
- Baked beans
- Peanut butter
You can get foam rollers from athletic stores or can be bought online. Use of foam rollers can reduce the water buildup in the body and improve circulation. On the legs, its use encourages blood flow and for better ways to use, you can talk to your healthcare provider. They would definitely give you the best advice.
A massage would have definitely sounded like a luxury during pregnancy and even now! You can go to a professional massage therapist or simply ask your partner to give you a nice massage. A massage would help a lot in many ways especially in improving blood circulation and reducing pain and swelling. These can also help cope with the physical as well as mental stress and would help in hormonal regulation.
Go for professionals as ideally, they would have experience in postpartum massage and would have a better idea of the acupressure points. It would definitely help in relieving swollen feet that you have after giving birth.
When Should you Visit the Doctor:
Although with good care you shouldn’t worry too much about swelling but you should definitely go for a regular checkup. Also, there are cases in which you need medical attention, some of these cases could be:
- Pitted edema which is characterized by indentation in swelled area when pressure applied.
- More swelling in one leg than the other
- If you experience symptoms of preeclampsia
- Sudden swelling of an area
- Difficulty in breathing and chest pain
You would experience many things physically after delivery, of which swelling is one of the most common occurrences, specially having swollen feet after birth. Don’t worry! You should focus on yourself and your body as it has been through a lot of changes during the past 9 months. You need to give it a break and some relaxation. Carry out healthy exercises that are comfortable and not painful.
Eat a healthy and nutritious diet, go for regular checkups and in case, you notice that something is wrong, book an appointment with your doctor and visit them. Long story short, the key to good health is regular exercise but within the healthy limits and good diet with all the essential nutrition.