A few weeks ago when I hit 7 months for this pregnancy, my hands swelled to the point where I had to remove my wedding ring.
I’m no stranger to the magical symptom of swollen feet and hands during pregnancy. During my last pregnancy, at the end of a day at my desk job, I looked like the Wikipedia entry for Elephantitis.
I tried everything.
- Avoid standing. (But remember: sitting too much can kill you.)
- Drink more water. (And have fun peeing every 15 minutes.)
- Put your feet up, above your hips. (But don’t lay on your back.)
- Exercise regularly. (Good luck fitting your gargantuan feet into tennis shoes.)
None of it helped. My swollen hands and fingers made it impossible to type or even hold my phone.
Every night, I sank onto the couch and put my swollen feet on an ottoman topped with three pillows.
And I’d stare at my feet. My poor, puffy feet.
I wanted to cry and yell and disown my feet, all at the same time.
So when my puffiness started a few weeks ago for this pregnancy, I talked to my doctor, desperate for new advice to reduce swelling during pregnancy.
A Simple Fix for Swollen Feet and Hands (and Everything) During Pregnancy
One of the doctors in my practice is pregnant and just a couple weeks ahead of me, so she GETS IT.
Lucky for me, I had an appointment with her the same week I removed my wedding ring.
“It seems like the swelling has started earlier for me this time,” I said, my legs dangling off the exam table and collecting even more fluid as I spoke. “I sit with my feet up as much as possible and drink a ton of water, but it doesn’t really help.”
She smiled. “Well, there’s one more thing you can try that helps a lot, but it’s not for everyone.”
I sat up straighter, crinkling the paper on the table. “What?” I asked.
“Massage will definitely help improve circulation and reduce swelling from edema,” she said.
“Like a prenatal massage?”
“Sure, if you can afford it. Or even just asking your partner to massage your feet every night.”
Uh…can I get a doctor’s note for that?
Can You Imagine?
My husband was already hooking me up with regular foot massages, but this was the first time any doctor of mine had recommended prenatal massage for a medical reason.
I let my imagination get a little carried away.
What if health insurance covered therapeutic massage to address swollen feet during pregnancy? Or…what if insurance covered one prenatal massage for each month in your final trimester?
What if while you were waiting for your OB/GYN appointment, your doctor’s office had a licensed massage therapist on staff to offer 10-minute foot massages?
5 Ways to Get a Prenatal Massage for Cheap
For now, I cashed in on my Mother’s Day present this past weekend: an hour-long prenatal massage and a reprieve from feeling like a living, breathing jet-puffed marshmallow – at least for a few days.
If you’re pregnant and swollen and desperate, try a prenatal massage.
I know massages can be pricey, so here are a few ideas for making it work:
- Check if there’s a massage school in your area. You can usually get discounted massages from massage therapists in training.
- Sign up for deal alerts at sites like Groupon and Living Social.
- Trim your registry to the baby must haves and add a massage to balance it out.
- Check with your health insurance provider. Who knows – medically necessary massage might be covered under your plan.
- If you can’t afford a full-body massage, check prices for a foot massage.
And if anyone gives you any grief about treating yourself to a massage, just tell them it’s a doctor-recommended remedy for swollen feet during pregnancy.
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Aside from swollen feet during pregnancy, what was your least favorite pregnancy symptom? Share your story in a comment below!