Pregnancy can present any number of challenges as the body goes through so many vast changes over a relatively short period of time.Some common conditions that women face are swelling, leg cramps and lower and middle back pain.As the baby grows in the uterus, the added weight can cause strain in the joints of the ankles and knees, cramps in the legs, and congestion along the spine.These are conditions that many women share, but they can easily be remedied or better yet, prevented altogether by paying more attention to our pillars of support – the legs and feet!
Baby Steps to Happy Feet
Effecting change in our bodies happens in baby steps.In pregnancy, swollen ankles and feet usually need three simple things: hydration, rotation and elevation of the legs.
Women often respond to swelling by choosing to drink less fluids as they believe this will only increase the amount of fluid the body can hold onto.But often, the opposite is the case.Swelling can become aggravated in hotter weather as we dehydrate more easily, causing the body to retain fluid as a natural means of conservation in response to increased salt levels in the body.It is also much easier to dehydrate while pregnant as you are supporting two life systems and expending more energy to do so.When swelling creeps ups, try drinking more water to aid the balance of salts throughout the body and flush the system.
Whether it is weather-related or already a natural occurrence in your pregnancy, swollen ankles and wrists respond to rotating these joints as much as possible. If you are sitting at a desk for the most of the day, allow yourself brief breaks to walk around the office. Then sit away from your desk and circle the ankles and wrists in a clockwise and counter-clockwise direction for several rotations. Ankles in particular can also be rotated while you continue to work at your desk.
By taking ankles through their full range of motion, you alleviate stiffness and stimulate the production of synovial fluid within the joint capsule.This fluid helps lubricate the joint so that there is greater freedom of movement and cushioning within the ankle itself.Rotation also stimulates the small lymph vessels located around the ankles, which help to filter the blood of excess fluid and reduce swelling.You can practice these movements along with other beneficial poses in the 10 minute Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix Feet & Ankle Series.Remember that in later stages of pregnancy, some adjustments will need to be made to accommodate that beautiful belly!So in Dandasana, follow the instructions, but if necessary separate the feet hip distance apart and always make yourself as comfortable as possible by sitting on a small pillow or against a wall for extra back support.For standing poses, be sure to stand near a wall to assist with balance when needed.
Lastly, in the evening, take the opportunity to elevate arms above your head, perhaps resting them on the top of the sofa, which will allow fluid to drain from the wrists.Rest legs on a coffee table or side table piled with cushions to the desired height so that ankles can also receive the benefits.
Yummy Mummy Calves
Simple calf stretches throughout your day or before you go to bed are an effective way to relax the calf muscles and prevent cramping in the middle of the night.You’ll find a great calf stretch in the 10 minute Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix Feet & Ankle Series here.Self Massage with Yoga Tune Up® balls allows you to reap the benefits of massage at times in your day that you need it most – particularly late at night before bedtime for tired legs. The Therapy Ball Mini Series includes massage techniques for the calves, which can greatly reduce cramping.For the calf massage sequences, remember that if you need more space for the belly or support for the pelvis you can adjust by kneeling on a bolster and still achieve the desired effect.
Strong and supple feet and legs allow you to gather more support from the earth, which all Earth Mamas should take advantage of!Follow these baby steps and discover that the feet offer a path of healing for the whole body that will sustain you through your entire pregnancy and beyond.Tune Up those feet and calves, Tune Down the tension, and reap the rewards!
Read how to Heal Your Aching Pregnant Feet.
Watch our video for lower back pain relief.
Learn about our Therapy Balls Program for your lower back.