Maybe you’ve been on your feet all day, or maybe, you’ve been in your chair all day…Suddenly, you look down and you notice that your ankles have increased in circumference and seem to look like they don’t belong to you anymore. “Ackkkk!!”
Swollen ankles, or edema, is a common complaint during pregnancy. Increased blood volume resulting form hormonal signals in the body increases venous pooling and can cause fluid to accumulate in the extremities. Many times, hot temperatures, high salt intake, certain medical conditions and late pregnancy can increase the likelihood of edema. If you are on your feet all day, or perhaps, have been sitting for prolonged periods, as on a long car ride, chances are, there will be swelling.
A very lovely way to alleviate this discomfort is to lie supine on the floor with the feet up the wall. This posture, Viparita Karani, is highly beneficial, whether you are pregnant, or not. The practice of this posture can reduce varicose veins, relieve aching feet and bring you a sense of peace and relaxation. When practicing while pregnant, be mindful of how you feel while in a supine position. After 34 weeks, it may not feel comfortable. Also, it is important to place a pillow at the small of the back in order to support the pelvis and the hips. This will relieve pressure from the uterus.
- Sit beside a wall and lie down.
- Using your arms and NOT your stomach muscles, swivel round so your back is at a right angle to the wall and your legs are straight up.
- Stay in this space as long as you like.
- To come out of the posture, let your legs come down, bending at the knees, to the left side as you use your arms to roll your torso to the same side. You will be in a fetal position. Use your hands to help you up to seated.
Here are some ways to reduce the swelling and discomfort:
- Elevate the legs and feet several times a day
- Avoid standing for long periods without moving
- Keep cool during hot weather
- Avoid high sodium foods.
- Drink more water. (10-12 glasses recommended during hot weather.)
- Exercise regularly.
Of course, if the conditon worsens, consult with your healthcare provider.
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