How can I reduce swelling after pregnancy

Water retention during pregnancy

Compression stockings

The first and easiest thing that is usually recommended to pregnant women is - at least for swollen legs and feet - compression stockings from the pharmacy. "They help remove the stored liquid," says Sylvia Körber. They are prescribed by the gynecologist.

Stay active

Whether yoga, swimming or light running training: "Pregnant women who move a lot operate an active muscle pump and thus push the fluid back out of the tissue," says gynecologist Tanja Groten. By the way, it can also be done by the way: to do this, put both feet up several times a day while sitting, alternately pressing your heels into the ground and at the same time pulling your toes up. Then press your toes into the ground and lift your heels.

Alternating baths

First of all: Pregnant women who suffer from edema, please do not shower or bathe in hot water. "Heat aggravates the symptoms, which is why more pregnant women suffer from the problems in summer than in winter," says midwife Sylvia Körber. However, it is advisable to combine warm and cold: "On the one hand, alternating baths stimulate the circulation and thus the blood circulation. On the other hand, when alternating between hot and cold, the muscles and thus the vessels contract, so that the water is forced out," explains Körber .

And this is how it works: Rinse your hands / feet for a few seconds with the warmest possible water, then just as long with cold water. Repeat the process two or three times and finish cold. It is best to plan it firmly as a routine for the daily shower. "Finally rub the arms or legs properly - this also stimulates the blood circulation". Important: Women who suffer from cardiovascular diseases seek advice from their doctor beforehand.

Eat well

Occasionally you can still read about low-salt food and rice days that are recommended for pregnant women. "But none of this has come true," says gynecologist Tanja Groten. Midwife Sylvia Körber advises pregnant women to eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of whole grain products, fruit and vegetables. "This is how you absorb minerals that can help counteract water retention," she says.
For fear of edema, pregnant women should under no circumstances go and drink less or nothing at all. Ideal for them are water, unsweetened herbal teas or foods with a high water content, for example melons, cucumbers or grapes.

Up your legs!

Or the arms, depending on the situation. "This also helps because lymph fluid and blood can flow better towards the heart and the swelling can be reduced," explains midwife Körber. She also recommends stroking the affected areas, for example using both hands to raise the calves.


It is controversial whether the use of fine acupuncture needles works on certain points on the body. It is difficult to assess, also because acupuncture is often only used as a supplement. "In the end we never know whether, for example, exercise, diet or acupuncture helped," says Sylvia Körber.