9 Natural remedies for swollen feet during pregnancy
Acupuncturist & Holistic Women’s Health expert, Josie Bouchier, shares her tips on soothing swollen feet during pregnancy.
As your pregnancy progresses, you may experience swollen feet and ankles, especially if you are on your feet for long periods of time, are required to wear uncomfortable shoes, or live in a warm climate.
Luckily, having swollen feet is completely normal, and there are many safe, natural remedies you can try at home to reduce the swelling and make yourself more comfortable.
NOTE: If you notice swelling coming on quickly, if the swelling isn’t relieved by simple remedies, or if it’s accompanied by headaches or blurry vision, seek immediate medical attention as these can be signs of high blood pressure or preeclampsia.
- Get plenty of protein, adequate salt and other essential nutrients. Pregnant women can be carrying an additional 20 lbs of fluid in the third trimester. Swelling is a common and natural result of this increased fluid. Essential nutrients and minerals directly effect how well your body is able to process all that extra fluid, also known as electrolyte balance. Avoid processed and packaged foods, which contain high amounts of regular table salt, and opt for whole foods and unprocessed sea salt that contains all the good-for-you trace minerals and nutrients that will help maintain optimal electrolyte balance and reduce or prevent swelling.
- Drink nettle and dandelion tea. Drink 1-2 cups of dandelion and nettle infused tea daily to help improve circulation and balance electrolytes in the body.
- Eat foods high in potassium. Potassium is an important mineral that helps maintain the salt to water ratio in your body. Foods high in potassium include bananas, avocado, figs, romaine lettuce, scallions, watercress, celery, blackstrap molasses, papaya, parsley, rhubarb, artichoke, carob, kiwi, prune juice, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, cabbage, dill, arugula, and endive.
- Decrease your caffeine intake. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases urination, leading to dehydration and fluid retention. Replace your caffeine with a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea, which both contain many beneficial trace minerals including potassium.
- Elevate your feet. Elevate your feet for 20 minutes, 3-4 times per day. Use cushions to prop your feet up slightly above the level of your heart to ensure the blood and fluid returns to your heart, relieving the swelling in the lower extremities.
- Lie on your left side. Whether sleeping or resting, lying on your left side can help increase circulation in your body, which will help reduce swelling in your feet.
- Exercise for 30 minutes a day. Exercise, like gentle yoga, keeps your blood and fluids circulating throughout your body so they have less of a tendency to settle in your feet.
- Take Epsom salt foot baths. Soaking your feet in a basin with warm water and ½ cup Epsom salts or in the bathtub with 1 cup. Make soaking in Epsom salts a relaxing nightly ritual if you can while you’re pregnant. Feel free to add a couple drops of lavender, rose, rosemary, or wintergreen essential oil.
- Ask for a foot massage with arnica oil. Arnica can help relieve sore and aching muscles, and joints. Whether it’s your partner, friend or masseuse, make sure they are aware of your comfort level and not to press too hard on any certain points. A gentle foot massage to let the arnica soak in is all you need.