It happens to most women. That moment when you catch a glimpse of your feet (which doesn’t happen that often) and you realize you don’t know where you calves end and your feet begin. Even though you know it happens to everyone, it still gets you.
If you ask around on how to reduce the swelling you get answers like, “You must have preeclampsia” or “it happens to everyone, it goes away at birth.” Not helpful, not helpful at all.
Before I was pregnant, my hands and feet would swell if I exercised too much and got dehydrated. At those points, I would drink a ton, ice my feet and rest. So I tried all these things and no dice. Then I asked the mommy forums on Facebook – that was the right thing to do. So if you are battling swollen feet and/or legs, this is what worked for me:
- Compression socks: Yup. You read it correctly. I refer to them as my old man socks. You can find them at any drug store (except for Target, apparently) for about $10. They roll up to about your knees and they are most definitely not kidding about the compression. I had to have El Hombre put them on for me.
- Elevate your legs: This was supremely uncomfortable for awhile for me because I cannot lay on my back. But I figured out that I could drag a stool up to my favorite chair and put my feet (with my new compression socks) up on the chair. This is pretty much how I watched all the Heat/Hornets games.
- Rest: Pregnancy makes this a bit easier for me, but I am not good at sitting still. And I definitely notice a huge difference if I am on my feet all day. If he could, I think El Hombre would put me on bed rest. How to get through this? Binge watch Rome on Amazon Prime.
- Epsom salts: Yeah, you aren’t really supposed to take hot baths while you are pregnant, but you can soak your feet. This was advice that I can’t believe I didn’t think of myself, as I believe epsom salts are the answer to everything.
- Ice: I mentioned above that this didn’t do much, but it did stop the itching. The extra fluid on your joints can be maddeningly itchy and ice does help quell that feeling. In combination with everything else, it’s useful.
After a day of all of this, my feet and calves look and feel normal again. When I feel it coming on again (generally I get itchy in my feet and legs when the swelling is about to kick it), I start the whole process over. And then I take a deep breathe and think, “Six and a half weeks left until the real fun starts!”