Hi, my name is Erin, I am 22 weeks pregnant, and I have cankles.
Actually, they’re not that bad, and sometimes I don’t have them. But at night time… there they are with a vengeance! Bastards! Haha
I have always held a lot of fluid, particularly in my legs, so I knew that I would get really “fluidy” when I was preggers. And I was totally right.
It doesn’t really bother me too much, because I know it is only temporary… it actually makes me laugh! (if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry… right?).
Anywho, I thought I’d take action and try what I could do “manage them”. And I have found a few things that have REALLY helped to improve them (or to be more accurate, improved my circulation, particularly in my lower leg region). So I thought I’d share with you, in the hope that they help you too 🙂
** With the first 3 points below, it’s best to ensure you are always using movements that go towards your lymph nodes. This will be better for circulation and fluid retention.
1. Dry Body Brushing
I have been using this particular body brush since 2006, pretty much every day! I swear by it (if you could feel my skin, you would know why!) Fluid aside, it has gotten rid of my “keratosis pilaris”, which is that red bumpy skin that a lot of people get on the backs of their arms. Mine is completely gone! It also keeps my body feeling silky smooth, and pimple free. AND… I am yet to develop skin tags (woohoo!)
As for my fluid, I think it has been helping a bit. I have developed a new technique with the way I do it, which is more focused on my lymphatic system, to further help my fluid retention…
* Before you pop in the shower, strip off (it is hard in Winter, I’m not going to lie), and starting at your toes, do long, medium pressure strokes all the way up your leg, so you’re heading towards the lymph nodes in your groin.
* After doing both legs, rub it on your butt cheeks in circular motions (you’ll get such a smooth bum hehe)
* Then do your arms – again starting from your fingers tips, do long, medium pressure strokes up towards your armpits.
* I then finish with my back, my chest, and GENTLY do my tummy (its hard to do long strokes on these regions, just do what you can manage)
* Then pop in the nice warm shower 🙂
2. Application of coconut oil with essentials oils twice daily
Straight after my shower, and before I got to bed at night time, I give myself a massage 🙂
I have bought a cheapie travel bottle from the chemist, and have mixed the following (see pic below… the larger bottle):
– doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil (this stuff won’t go hard when it’s cold, and is equally as nourishing)
– 5 drops doTERRA Lavender Essential Oil
– 5 drops of doTERRA Geranium Essential Oil
I have chosen those two oils, as they are both safe for pregnancy, and are both excellent oils to use for your skin. They are balancing, nourishing, relaxing, hydrating, soothing, AND will help with circulation. Plus I love the smell 🙂 There are other blends you can use too (if you would like to know more blends, please contact me).
* So again, starting at your toes, generously apply the oil to your hands, and using long, medium pressure strokes, apply UPWARDS towards the lymph nodes in your groin. Apply it almost as though you are dragging that fluid up your legs.
* Massage your butt and your hips
* Do your arms, starting at your finger tips, and do long strokes towards your armpits
* Apply on your chest, back (as best you can)
* Then apply to your boobs… really give them a nice massage to help prevent stretch marks
* Then your precious tummy. When applying to your tummy, ensure you do apply in a CLOCKWISE motion. Be gentle, especially if you have a bub on board. This is great for preventing stretch-marks too 🙂
3. Ankle Massage
See the above photo…
I have created a little blend specifically for my cankles (the little bottle)
I brought a little roller bottle, and mixed:
– Fractionated doTERRA Coconut Oil
– 3 drops of doTERRA Lavender Essential Oil
– 3 drops of doTERRA Lemon Essential Oil
Again, there are different blends you could do. I chose these two as they are safe for pregnancy, smell amazing and great for circulation.
* About three times a day, I roll the roller bottle in circular motions around my ankles
* I then massage it in, in circular motions around my ankle bone (feels fabulous), and I then do the long strokes that head up my leg towards my groin area. Again, do it as though you are dragging the fluid up your legs
* Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)
I stole this pose from Yoga… I love it. In the Yoga world it is known as Viparita Karani. It actually has many health benefits, apart from being excellent for fluid retention in your legs:
– Calming, nourishing & grounding
– It relieves tired leg muscles
– Helps regulate blood pressure
– Calms your nervous system (helps your parasympathetic nervous system kick into gear – which is the opposite of your “fight and flight response”). So very good for anxiety.
– It helps to calm and quiten your mind
So this is a beautiful pose to do just before bedtime, especially if you have had a busy day and your mind is racing.
* After applying your oils of a night time, grab a pillow (and any other support you need to be comfy), and find a free area of wall in your house
* Pop your bum right up to the wall, pillow under your head, and stick your legs straight up in the air and lean them against the wall
* Stay here for 5 – 15 minutes, every night (if you are over 20 weeks pregnant, just stay in this pose for 5 minutes)
* While I lie there, I focus on my breathing, and use this time to connect with baby and my breathe. If you find your mind wanders off, just gently bring it back to focusing on your breathe.
Above is a photo of me this morning… cankles aren’t there, but hopefully you get the idea of what you need to do!)
** Note, this pose is not advisable after 36 weeks in pregnancy, as baby is moving into the birth position
Hopefully these four tips will help you as much as they are helping me 🙂 Let me know if you have any tips of helping cankles and fluid retention, particularly during pregnancy.