Many mamas are surprised to discover facial swelling during pregnancy. It’s one of those things you don’t expect, though it happens to just about everyone.
If you woke up with a swollen face during pregnancy, this post is most certainly for you. Some say a puffy face during pregnancy means boy or girl, but there is just no proof. Facial swelling during pregnancy has nothing to do with the gender of your baby.
Generally, a puffy face in pregnancy third trimester is the most common time you’ll see this happen. Fluid accumulation is normal at this point and is usually nothing to fear unless your doctor notices other symptoms.
Still, if you don’t want to look and feel puffy, these tips will help you eliminate a puffy face during pregnancy!
How to Get Rid of a Puffy Face During Pregnancy
Enjoy your pregnant glow and depuff your face. Here’s how!
- Use a cold mask when you wake up
Cold compression therapy can work like a charm to reduce swelling. Those gel face masks are an ideal choice. They’re safe to put on your skin directly and reusable.
No face mask? No problem! Fill a plastic bag with ice, seal it, then wrap it in a soft towel and relax with it on your face for about 15 minutes before getting ready for your day.
- Try a cold shower
It can’t hurt to take a nice cold shower if you feel swollen all over. This is a good idea if you’re too busy to use the cold compress facial mask.
- Move fluids with a warm compress
Now, cold compresses should do the trick. They are ultra-effective for calming swelling from inflammation. But sometimes, that pregnancy puffiness in your face may be due to water retention and buildup in your cheeks.
Those ice packs should make a difference, but turning to warm compresses is the answer if they don’t. Using them for about 10 minutes should provide the necessary depuffing your face needs.
Unlike cold, though, you won’t benefit from a hot shower like you would with a cold one. A lightly warm compress can help move fluid, but too much heat can make you retain more water.
- Keep your head elevated at night
Many mamas-to-be reports that they look their puffiest in the morning. It’s no coincidence that your face retains water due to your pillow positioning.
As such, elevating your head a bit more should keep things flowing better. This will prevent a puffy face from the start. However, it does take a bit of getting used to sleeping in this position.
In my third trimester with my eldest, I had to start sleeping this way due to heartburn. Some of you may find this to be the main reason you sleep with an elevated head, but it will benefit that puffiness too.
- Sleep on your left
There comes a time in pregnancy when you should never sleep on your back or belly. This means you have to sleep on your side; however, the left one is best.
Sleeping on your left side reduces edema. It also keeps blood flowing well to the baby. If you’re not comfortable this way, get a pregnancy body pillow. I wrote a post about some great ones to use, so check those out!
- Give yourself a natural spa treatment
Mama, you need to relax more. I know what you’re going to say, but there will be plenty of time to run yourself ragged when your baby is born. For now, treat yourself.
If you can afford a day at the spa, DO IT. But I know budgets are tight for many, so take to your fridge for cold cucumber slices or use caffeinated tea bags. Either of these can reduce a pregnant puffy face, especially if the trouble is all around your eyes. About 10 minutes will work wonders!
- Enjoy a facial massage
Again, if you’ve got the finances to escape to the spa, relish this time! And if you’d like to save money, you can give yourself a facial massage at home.
The swelling and puffiness are connected with the functionality of your lymphatic system. It’s a lot like your circulatory system, except there’s nothing to pump it and remove toxins. Using something like a jade roller to push those extra fluids out will also help; it feels so soothing and relaxing.
- Try some watermelon
With both of my pregnancies, I wanted fruits. Lots of fruits. Especially watermelon. And that’s a great thing to crave because it helps you stay hydrated and has tons of vitamin C.
Chill it first to really enjoy this refreshing snack. It helps you avoid harmful sugars that cause swelling in the first place while giving your body what it really needs. And since watermelon tastes so sweet, to begin with, you will want to enjoy this depuffing hack for pregnant mamas daily!
- Put more diuretics in your diet
If you don’t want to have a puffy, swollen face, choose foods that are diuretics. Celery, asparagus, beets, ginger, and brussels sprouts are just a few examples. Make them a part of your meals for a natural way to reduce puffiness while pregnant.
- Drink your water
While it sounds counterproductive, drinking water and staying properly hydrated during pregnancy will reduce water retention in your face. It’s funny because your body will swell when it doesn’t have enough water.
Carry a good water bottle with you everywhere, and you’ll avoid neglecting your hydration!
- Reduce your intake of salty foods
Listen, those pregnancy cravings are insane. I totally understand, of course, but if you’re worried about a puffy pregnant face, you need to watch your salt intake.
Too much salt is not good for anyone, but while you’re pregnant, it can send your blood pressure to soar. I remember in my third trimester with my youngest, my doctor admonished my husband and said that his mom needed to either stop cooking for me or stop adding salt to the food.
A better way is to make things yourself so you can control the salt you put in. Even better, use herbs – either fresh or dry – to give your meals a more luscious flavor without taking in too much sodium.
- Pick potassium
But hey, if those cravings for fries can’t be shut out, follow it with something rich in potassium. Potassium helps balance the concentrations of electrolytes and removes the need for your body to retain water.
Bananas are a big one with potassium. They were my ace in the hole when I was desperate for something sweet. For me, I couldn’t stop thinking about milkshakes. And since I lived in China, those were very hard to come by. So, I’d make my own using bananas, milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
Other foods with potassium include avocados, lentils, sweet potatoes, oranges, cooked broccoli, whole wheat bread, and mushrooms.
- Just eat healthy overall
An overall healthy diet will usually crush any puffiness and swelling from the start. Balance with anything is a crucial aspect, and that’s the same when it comes to your nutrition and wellness.
In addition to watching your salt intake, keep an eye on how much sugar and starch you consume. Avoid those processed, fatty foods as much as you can, too, and instead, aim to eat lean meats and other forms of protein. Fiber is also important because it helps your gut stay healthy and will make you feel fuller for longer.
That will keep you from snacking with reckless abandon. But foods rich in fiber are also more nutritious for you and will better serve your growing baby.
- Keep active as much as you can
Having a baby requires much stamina and strength. As such, keeping active during pregnancy will help you when it comes to labor. And the good news is that cardiovascular exercise, in particular, can help reduce the puffiness in your face and body.
A lack of exercise can cause fluids to build up and swell. It’s ideal if you can get 30 minutes of exercise daily doing what your doctor approves of, like walking or other light workouts.
Be cautious with anything that could pose a risk of falling, like riding a bike. However, a stationary bike at the gym is a fair trade-off that allows you to get that workout without the risk.
Any type of cardio will do the trick, as long as your doctor agrees. Some of you may have other conditions where your doctor will advise you to be on bed rest. However, most mamas can keep busy with exercise to busy that bloated, puffy face.
The bottom line with pregnancy puffy and swelling faces…
If you want to keep your face from getting puffy, you must take care of your health during pregnancy. Some of it can’t be prevented, like the pooling of fluids in your face when you usually sleep.
But adjusting your pillows to be on an incline can counter that. Wearing a cold compress mask in the morning can help depuff fast, and watching the foods you eat while drinking enough water can fight inflamed puffiness before it has a chance to begin.
Often, this is seen most commonly in the third trimester. Soon, your body will return to normal, though that process takes a while. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor if you have concerns about something with your body during pregnancy or immediately after.
Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. You must call your doctor immediately if you experience swelling in your legs, along with pain, warmth, and redness. Additionally, sudden or worsening swelling in your face or hands and a high blood pressure reading is also urgent cause for concern.
Besides that, try not to worry and simply follow the steps above to relieve that puffy pregnant face!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs. She loves eating too much sushi, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.