As we come into the hottest months of the year, we find so many of our pregnant mums lose their ankles.
Let’s talk all things ankles or cankles!!
This is the fluid between cells and surrounding tissue. You need extra support during pregnancy, and your body not only increases the blood volume approximate 40% it also increases interstitial fluid 30-40%. Now this on its own is enough to make anyone have fluid retention, yet a pregnant mum has a few more things to consider.
One of the roles of our lymphatic system is to “mops’ up excess fluid, which is naturally a slow system. Our heart beats on average 60-100bpm, whilst the lymphatic system has no internal beat and will only pulse 6 pulses per minute. This means you have a system which is already slow moving, being overloaded with increase in fluid.
The third factor to consider for pregnant mum’s is the postural change that occurs because of the musculoskeletal factors. See this video which explains it all: https://www.merakaitherapies.com.au/at-home-tips-and-self-care – the understanding pregnancy changes video.
You will see from this we have the anterior pelvic tilt, which naturally happens as your baby grows. However, this change compresses the inguinal part of the lymphatic system, and reduces the ability of the body to return the fluid from your legs.
So all in all, it’s a tough journey for your body to cope with this extra fluid. We do know we can’t predict how a body will respond to pregnancy, some women have minimal impact of the extra fluid, others have a noticeable fluid retention. There are also conditions that may develop during pregnancy that can increasingly impact this fluid which is why it is always incredibly important to discuss any changes, including increase in fluid with your medical care provider.
What can you do to help?
- Exercise and muscle contraction is your best friend to assisting the lymphatic system to work a little better. So assuming you are able to comfortably do, gentle walks or swimming will be your best friend to help with fluid retention.
- Massage has a considerable impact on stimulating the excel fluid, self massage or booking for one of our pregnancy massages will help. For bookings click here.
- Unfortunately, we cannot recommend lying on your back with your legs up due to supine hypotensive syndrome, however if you are able to sit with your legs elevated which although you are compressing the inguinal area, it may be enough to allow fluid to return more effectively.
- Spinning babies also has a “belly lift” technique which is great for temporarily lifting baby and taking the pressure off the inguinal area. https://www.spinningbabies.com/pregnancy-birth/techniques/abdominal-lift-tuck/
- Staying as cool as you can and as hydrated as you can over the coming months. Excess heat will not be your friend if you are trying to reduce fluid build up around your ankles.
- Avoid standing or sitting long periods.