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For many moms, the period after giving birth can be filled with some discomfort as it heals and returns to its pre-pregnancy state. One common condition that many mothers face is postpartum edema, also known as postpartum water retention. This condition involves swelling, particularly in your hands and legs.
Postpartum water retention is a normal part of pregnancy and childbirth. As your body prepares itself for childbirth, it retains more water which will slowly dissipate after the baby is born. However, in some women, this process takes longer than usual.
Here are some probable reasons why your postpartum water weight may not be going away the way you expected:
Raising your feet on a pillow as you sleep will help with your circulation. It will encourage the excess water at your extremities to be drained and not build up as you sleep.
Apart from when you’re sleeping, you can also raise your feet on stools or cushions if you’re sitting down for more than half an hour.
You should be able to start doing light exercises such as walking, yoga, swimming, and cycling as soon as two weeks after giving birth. Staying active helps your muscles to contract and relax. This muscle movement will also increase the circulation around your extremities, which is a key step in preventing the build-up of excess water.
Discuss with your doctor about the types of exercise you can do, as exercise is also good for causing you to sweat. Sweating is a natural way for you to remove excess water from your body.
Contrary to popular belief, drinking water won’t worsen your water retention. In fact, it has the completely opposite effect. Being dehydrated can actually cause your body to keep more water and worsen the water retention.
Make sure you keep some water with you at all times so you can sip from it. Apart from plain water, you can also drink milk, soy milk, juices and herbal teas as these are considered good for women in confinement.
High sodium intake can actually worsen water retention, so try to keep your salt intake to a minimum if your swelling seems to be taking longer to go away. The main culprit here is sodium, and processed foods usually have rather high sodium content. You may want to consider doing away with processed foods and keep your diet as natural as possible.
If you’d like a snack, stick to fruits, nuts and cereals without added salt or sugar.
Massaging is an effective way for minimizing the effects of water retention as it helps bring down the swelling, especially in your extremities. Nowadays, there are professional postnatal massage therapists in Singapore especially trained to treat water retention. They even provide home massage services so that you can have a comforting and relaxing massage session in the comfort of your home.
Postpartum water retention may be uncomfortable, but it will eventually recede as time passes. You can definitely help the process happen faster with some simple lifestyle changes which can make you feel better.