How to Avoid Swelling & Maximize Comfort During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman wearing Lily Trotters calf sleeves to keep swelling down while running on track field

Calling all mamas and moms-to-be! Lily Trotters will save your feet and they look great too! 

As a physical therapist who works closely with new and expecting moms, I have seen the many benefits of compression stockings including decreasing the swelling and associated aching of the lower legs and feet. Women often report greater energy and ability to move on their feet while wearing them. 

Swelling, also called edema, is the buildup of extra fluid in and around your tissues. This is a common occurrence during pregnancy, especially at the later stages, as your body produces and retains more fluid to support the developing baby. This also happens because the growing uterus puts pressure on your vascular system which can impair the return of blood flow to your heart. 

Here are some things you can do to get things moving!

  1. Wear your Lily Trotters - Ideally, moms-to-be should wear the Signature Compression socks because they enclose the feet and toes. It is important that there aren’t any wrinkles or bunching when you put on your socks. Check out THIS VIDEO on how to put them on correctly. It is not recommended that you wear your socks to bed at night. Use them while you’re up and about, relaxing, and especially traveling! If you are unable to put your socks on by yourself in the later stages of pregnancy you can ask a partner to help or purchase a sock-aid for compression socks. 
  2. Movement and exercise - Walking and cardiovascular activity is great to get your blood pumping. Walking is super accessible and great to stimulate movement of the calf muscles. Your calves are natural muscle pumps that help our veins move blood from the legs to the heart. You can support these muscles during pregnancy by keeping them flexible (think calf stretching and ankle mobility exercises) and strong (doing heel raises or going up and down on your toes). This can also be a strategy if your job demands you to be up on your feet. Standing in one place can cause blood to pool in the legs so let’s keep moving mama. 
  3. Get plenty of fluids - When the body is dehydrated it will actually hang onto more fluid. It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day especially when it’s warm outside. To encourage more fluid consumption you can consider bringing your reusable bottle along with you from room-to-room, adding electrolyte powders to your water, and eating water-dense foods such as cucumbers and watermelon. It’s also recommended to watch your salt intake because it can increase swelling.
  4. Elevate your legs - What a great excuse to put those feet up! Elevating your legs allows gravity to help the vascular system. You can do this in a semi-reclined or seated position. It’s always a good idea to add some gentle muscle contractions while doing this. I recommend starting with some ankle circles and ankle pumps. Moving up the body, you can then squeeze the quadriceps or the muscles in the front of the thighs and finish with some gluteal sets or squeezing your bum. Another great position to consider is laying on your left side which can help to take pressure off the large vein that returns blood from the legs to the heart (the inferior vena cava). 

    Good luck out there moms! I hope you continue to Be Unstoppable and that you have a safe, healthy, and confident pregnancy.

    ***It is important to note that swelling to some degree is normal during pregnancy. If the swelling is only in one leg, is painful, comes on quickly, and/or is accompanied by a headache or visual changes please seek immediate medical attention. Your providers will want to rule out a blood clot or preeclampsia which is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and can lead to organ damage.

    As always, it is recommended that you check with your medical provider before you start wearing any sort of support garments during pregnancy. Compression socks are not recommended for some clients with arterial, vascular, or heart disease.

    Lauren Gastall PT, DPT is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Lily Trotters Ambassador. She is a women’s health telemedicine provider on Maven, the largest women’s and family telemedicine network. She believes that EVERY mom should have the support they deserve while pregnant and far beyond having their babies. If you need a pelvic rehab practitioner you can visit www.mavenclinic.com  or find an in-person provider in your area at www.pelvicrehab.com.    


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published