Mothers-to-be expect a growing belly as their pregnancy progresses, but their new chubby cheeks might be an unwelcome surprise. As women enter their third trimester, edema, or swelling, is common, and it can affect every area from the cheeks down to the ankles. While a little extra pudge is unavoidable during late pregnancy, a few strategies can help reduce swelling of the face that results in those fat cheeks.
Increase your fluid intake. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. Even though it might seem counter-intuitive to combat water retention and swelling with water, it isn't. Having plenty of fluids in your system can help you flush fluids out of your body, which can contribute to facial puffiness and swelling. Also, if your body senses a lack of fluids, it might enter survival mode and hold onto water as much as possible.
Exercise. Physical activity, even at the end of your pregnancy, can reduce swelling. Look for a low-impact exercise, such as swimming or moderate walking. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program during pregnancy, and do only what your body can handle.
Eat a healthy, protein-rich diet. Too little protein can cause you to retain fluid, which can contribute to those chubby cheeks. Add lean proteins, such as chicken breast, turkey and tofu, to your diet every day. Add nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables as well, and cut out high-sodium foods.
Stay cool. If you're in your third trimester in the summer months, this can be difficult, but heat can contribute to swelling. Don't stand in direct sunlight -- if you have to be outside, stay in the shade and wear heat-resistant clothing. When possible, enjoy the comfort of air conditioning to lessen that edema.
Put cold compresses on your cheeks. These compresses can help cut down on the swelling, and if it's hot out, you might find them refreshing as well.
If your facial swelling comes on quickly, contact your obstetrician or midwife right away, as this can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a condition that results in a sudden surge in blood pressure, which can damage organs.