3 Common Pregnancy Symptoms and How to Relieve Them
Pregnancy is a time of so many emotions, and so many changes for women. You’re literally growing a new life inside you. There’s anticipation, fear, excitement, worry, love, and everything in between. Unfortunately, there’s also discomfort. As your uterus grows and your body and hormones shift to accommodate it, there are a lot of health issues and plain old annoyances to deal with. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most common pregnancy symptoms and some ways to help you feel better throughout this journey.
Also called edema; foot, ankle, and leg swelling are very common in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. It’s caused by the added weight and pressure put on your lower legs due to your growing uterus. This pressure makes it harder for your heart to pump blood all the way through your body. Blood pools in the legs because the only circulation there is aided by your muscle movement and gravity. While mild leg and joint swelling are very normal and common, sudden dramatic swelling around your hands and face can be a symptom of a very serious condition called preeclampsia. If your hands and face are swelling, reach out to your doctor to make sure that it’s nothing serious.
Relieving leg swelling can be as easy as hydration, elevation, and compression. While drinking fluids for fluid buildup can sound counter-intuitive, hydration is important for healthy circulation and becomes doubly as important with pregnancy, literally. You’re producing blood and nutrients for two and that takes water. Elevation helps because a large reason that buildup is more common in the legs is that pumping blood up and out of the legs requires a fight with gravity. If you can keep your legs up some, then gravity begins working for you rather than against you.
Compression socks for pregnancy help avoid and fight swelling in your legs and ankles. This is because they activate your leg muscles to encourage healthy blood circulation and lower the amount your heart has to pump to get that blood fully circulated. Compression socks for pregnancy also hold your feet and ankles in their proper place to keep veins clear, reducing swelling.
There’s a large and very important vein called the inferior vena cava that carries your blood back to your heart after it circulates in your feet and legs. Sometimes the pressure from the added weight and stress on your body can make it hard for that vein to do what it needs. It’s not a particularly dangerous thing, but it can cause darkening, hardening, and swelling of the surrounding veins called varicose veins. When caused by pregnancy, most varicose veins heal after delivery once the extra pressure is relieved. Varicose veins during pregnancy tend to run in families, so talking to your mother or grandmother about it can help a lot as well.
While not life-threatening, varicose veins can be incredibly uncomfortable and are a sign of circulation problems. Treating them consists of moving around, leg compression, and elevation. To lessen the build-up of fluid, you can also try sleeping on your left side as the inferior vena cava is on the right side of your body. The muscles in your legs can help the veins around them pump blood more effectively, that’s why frequent movement can be incredibly helpful for avoiding and fighting varicose veins.
For some pregnancies, though, that can be tough. So another great way to activate those same muscles is to wear special socks for pregnancy. Compression socks for pregnancy can push on your leg muscles to promote strong circulation without you needing to be active. Then there’s elevation, keeping your legs up can make gravity work with your veins to bring all that necessary blood back to your heart more effectively.
Sciatica is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, the large nerve in charge of most of the feeling in the lower half of your body. If this nerve gets pinched or irritated, it can be extremely painful. This leads to a stabbing pain in your legs, feet, and bottom; numbness and difficulty walking, standing, or sitting. It can cause debilitating pain throughout the lower extremities. While sciatica caused by spine issues requires surgery to correct, pregnancy sciatica tends to go away after the baby is born.
When caused by pregnancy, sciatica pain can be relieved by chiropractic care, prenatal massages, physical therapy, and compression socks. Pregnancy sciatica is normally caused by pressure on the nerve from the added weight of the baby and a shift in your posture to accommodate for it. That’s why pregnancy socks that work to realign the surrounding muscles and nerves are helpful. Physical therapy can be helpful to work on the surrounding areas and alleviate some of the pressure. Both chiropractic care and prenatal massages are effective for much of the same reasons, these treatments work your muscles to promote a healthier distribution of pressure, weight, and blood flow.
Keeping Up with Your Changing Body During Pregnancy
Pregnancy causes so many changes. Most great and exciting, but some are uncomfortable and painful. For those, there are plenty of safe, healthy ways to treat your symptoms to keep you and your baby on track. When it comes to both swelling and varicose veins, be sure to elevate your legs, move around a bit, and try out some compression socks for pregnancy. Pregnancy sciatica can be a bit more painful, but it can also be helped by physical therapy, chiropractics, and pregnancy socks. Use these tips to feel better during your 9 months.
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