Tips For Avoiding Discomfort And Protecting Swollen Feet
One of the biggest problems that pregnant women often encounter is swollen feet. During pregnancy, the body goes through various changes, and this includes increased water retention, leading to inflammation in the lower legs and feet. Luckily, there are several steps one can take to reduce swelling and prevent discomfort.
First and foremost, stay hydrated. Increasing your water intake can help to flush out the fluids which cause swelling in the first place. Secondly, wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support to your swollen feet opting for ones with a low heel or no-heel design instead of high heels is helpful. Furthermore, avoid prolonged standing or sitting by taking frequent breaks and stretching regularly. Additionally, try to elevate your feet whenever possible you can do this while lounging at home by positioning them against a few pillows. Finally, if possible, try reducing sodium intake as its known for causing water retention which leads to swelling of the feet.
Swollen Feet And Ankles During Pregnancy
When youre pregnant, your body holds on to water it would normally get rid of. Your feet, ankles, hands, and fingers may swell, especially at the end of the day. This puffy feeling is just a normal part of pregnancy. Its usually better after a good nights sleep, but there are some things you can do during the day to keep swelling at bay:
- Put your feet up when you can. Elevate them while you sleep.
- Avoid salty foods.
- Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Your body needs it anyway!
- Try wearing compression stockings. They help blood flow back to your heart rather than pooling at your feet.
- Move around. Dont sit or stand for too long.
- Don’t take water pills .
Call your care team if you notice swelling in your face, puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, headaches, or upper-abdominal pain. Well need to see you to make sure its not a sign of pregnancy-related high blood pressure, or preeclampsia.
What Can You Do To Relieve Swelling In Pregnancy
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What Causes Feet Swelling In Pregnancy
As early as your fifth month of pregnancy, you may notice that your feet begin to increase in size. This might even continue until late in your pregnancy.
As your uterus grows it can put extra p
ressure on the blood vessels that carry blood from the lower part of your body back to your heart. This results in fluid retention, causing your swollen legs, ankles, and feet during your pregnancy. The medical term for swelling caused by fluid retention is edema.
Hormones can also play a role in feet growing in size. The hormone relaxin, which is responsible for loosening the pelvic joints to make delivery possible, also loosens the ligaments of your feet. This results in the bones of your feet spreading, which is just another symptom you might experience along with pregnancy aches and pains.
Pregnancy-related weight gain can also result in your feet increasing in size.
When To Worry About Swelling
Here are the things you need to be aware of not to scare you but to help you in case you get any of these signs, they are signs of preeclampsia which is in plain English means high blood pressure that endangers you and your baby.
Preeclampsia only happens to pregnant women and can occur after 20 weeks causing high blood pressure and protein to show up in your urine, this is why your doctor will check your blood pressure and have you pee in a cup each visit to make sure things are going well.
One of the things about preeclampsia is that it sometimes masks other pregnancy symptoms so that you dont notice something is wrong, these symptoms are as follows.
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What Can I Do To Reduce Swelling In Pregnancy
Try these tips to ease swelling in pregnancy:
While swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy doesn’t feel great, take heart: It will pass soon after you give birth.
BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.
Nemours. 2021. Can Pregnant Women Do Anything to Reduce or Prevent Swollen Ankles?
Mayo Clinic. 2020. What causes ankle swelling during pregnancy and what can I do about it?
National Health Service. 2021. Swollen ankles, feet and fingers in pregnancy.
Irion JM, et al. 2011. Water Immersion to Reduce Peripheral Edema in Pregnancy. Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: May/August 2011 Volume 35 Issue 2 p 46-49.
Take An Epsom Salt Bath
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Epsom salts, also known as magnesium sulfate, draw out toxins from the body and reduce inflammation, but there isn’t much scientific evidence to support those claims. However, taking an Epsom salt bath may still provide some relief. “Soaking in this type of bath may also help relieve muscle tension in your legs,” says Dr. Winiarz. He recommends bathing for about 15 minutes.
Be sure to keep your bath at 100°F or below to avoid raising your body temperature, particularly in the first trimester.
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Can Pregnant Women Do Anything To Reduce Or Prevent Swollen Ankles
I already feel uncomfortable and self-conscious as my pregnancy progresses, but now my ankles are the size of my knees! Why does this happen and what can I do about it? Sonya
Those swollen ankles are a normal, if frustrating, woe for many expectant women. During pregnancy, the extra fluid in the body and the pressure from the growing uterus can cause swelling in the ankles and feet. The swelling tends to get worse as a woman’s due date nears, particularly near the end of the day and during hotter weather.
Although sudden swelling in the face or hands may be a sign of a condition known as preeclampsia, mild swelling of the ankles and feet is usually no cause for concern.
To help reduce and/or prevent those annoying swollen ankles, try these simple steps:
- Avoid standing for long periods.
- Prop up your feet when sitting and avoid crossing your legs.
- Stretch often when sitting for long periods.
- Lie on your left side when sleeping.
- Put maternity support stockings on before getting out of bed in the morning.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Swim or stand in a pool up to your neck.
- Exercise regularly.
- Try to stay cool in humid or hot weather.
When To Contact A Doctor Or Midwife
Swollen feet are a very typical part of pregnancy, as many of your fellow pregnancy buddies can probably tell you! So most of the time, swollen feet are just another sign of all the hard work your body is doing to grow that new little life.
However, swollen feet can sometimes signal a more serious concern.
One of these concerns is called preeclampsia. This condition can develop during pregnancy and cause dangerously high blood pressure.
- sudden swelling of your hands, feet, face, or around your eyes
- swelling that gets dramatically worse
- dizziness or blurred vision
- abdominal pain, especially in the upper right section of your abdomen
- difficulty breathing
If you notice swelling in just one leg that is also accompanied by pain, redness, or heat, this could mean you have a deep vein thrombosis . A DVT is a blood clot, usually in your leg.
Its important to call your healthcare professional immediately if you notice these symptoms. This is because people are more likely to get blood clots during pregnancy than when not pregnant .
If youre unsure whether your swelling is typical or have any concerns, it is always best to call your doctor or midwife. Theyre happy to help keep you and your baby safe and healthy!
Why You May Have Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
Swollen feet during pregnancy is called edema. Edema is the reaction the body has to inflammation while pregnant. While pregnant, the bodys blood volume and bodily fluids increase by 50 percent. The extra fluid is created to ensure that the baby has a surplus of fluid to use whenever needed. The fluid that isnt actively used by the baby is stored elsewhere throughout the body, besides the uterus. The feet are one of the prime places this fluid can be stored without bringing distress to more sensitive areas of the body. Other common areas in the body that swell are ankles, calves, hands, and the lower half of the face.
Now, what can be done to reduce the appearance of swollen feet during pregnancy?
Swollen Hands And Feet In Pregnancy
This is because your body holds more water than usual when you are pregnant.
Normal swelling in pregnancy:
- is often worse at the end of the day
- happens in late pregnancy
- gets better when you lie down
- will appear in both feet.
You should call your midwife or hospital maternity unit immediately if you have:
- a sudden increase in swelling in your face, hands or feet
- a very bad headache or a dull headache that wont go away
- problems with your vision, such as blurring or flashing lights
- severe pain just below your ribs
- feeling sick or vomiting
These could be symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
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How To Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy
This post focuses on swelling in the face, ankles, and legs which are common complaints.
There are some general rules to remember that will help pregnancy swelling all over the body:
- Avoid standing for long periods.
- Minimize outdoor time when it is hot.
- Rest with your feet elevated.
- Wear comfortable shoes, avoiding high heels if possible.
- Wear supportive tights or stockings.
- Avoid clothes that are tight around your wrists or ankles.
- Rest or swim in a pool.
- Use cold compresses on swollen areas.
- Drink water, which helps flush the body and reduce water retention.
- Minimize sodium intake and avoid adding additional salt to meals.
These are important to keep in mind to relieve pregnancy swelling.
Lets get into easy fixes to help reduce annoying bloat.
Tree Tribe Stainless Steel Water Bottle
If you forget to drink enough water, having a water bottle could make all the difference. If you know how much it holds, its easy to keep track of how much you drank.
This brand comes in various sizes all the way up to 1 liter . Thats about half the water you need to drink each day while pregnant.
The bottle is vacuum-sealed, double-walled stainless steel. In other words, its like a thermos. If you use it for hot ginger tea, it stays warm for 6 to 12 hours. Or if you prefer ice-cold homemade lemonade, it stays cool all day long.
It doesnt matter what you put in it because it doesnt feel hot or cold to the touch and it doesnt sweat. The design is leakproof with a silicone gasket in the lid. Toss a bottle in your bag and get on with your life.
Home Remedies For Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
It may seem counterintuitive, but walking is a great remedy for swollen legs and ankles during pregnancy! Exercise helps reduce swelling all over, and even brief walks can do this.
Another of my favorite exercises to do to help reduce swelling throughout the lower body:
The Legs-Up-The-Wall yoga pose. Of course, for pregnancy it needs to be modified. Here is a YouTube video that demonstrates this:
I swear by this pose to reduce swelling in my feet, ankles, and legs. Furthermore, I think that it has helped me avoid spider veins as well which can pop up during pregnancy.
Also, soaking your feet in cool water is another option for feet and ankles.
Extra Features To Consider When Shopping For Shoes During Pregnancy
When looking for shoes during pregnancy, consider the following extra features:
1. Comfort: Make sure that whichever shoes you choose are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. This includes providing adequate arch support, cushioning in the soles, and proper sizing that fits your feet correctly.
2. Material: Look for breathable materials such as leather or canvas which will help keep your feet cool and comfortable as your body temperature rises due to pregnancy hormones. Additionally, make sure the material can provide structure and support while still being flexible enough to accommodate swelling.
3. Heel Height: It is best to avoid shoes with spiked or high heels since this could cause potential balance issues as your belly grows. Choose flat or low-heeled shoes instead so you can walk safely without having any problems with your center of gravity shifting forward or putting strain on your ankles and knee joints.
4. Flexibility: Make sure the sole is flexible enough to move with you when walking so it wont inhibit your stride or put extra pressure on the backs of your heels from rubbing against the shoe itself. As well, look for straps with some give to them so they can stretch out easily over swollen feet and ankles without becoming too tight when expanded upon repeatedly thanks to fluid shifts throughout pregnancy.
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Hofish Womens Maternity Pants
Earlier, we mentioned non-restrictive clothing. This may mean relinquishing your underwire bra for a few months in favor of a wireless bra. It can also mean swapping jeans for stretchy pants. Not to worry, maternity pants arent all ugly. Check out this pair with tapered ankles and side pockets that are actually big enough for a phone.
They are made with a breathable blend of polyester, cotton, and spandex making them comfortable for warm weather but not too prone to wrinkling. They have a crossover V-shaped waist that stretches with your belly as it grows.
The only downer is that they come in only dark and neutral colors.
Can I Prevent Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy
Your body undergoes major changes during pregnancy. While those changes are unavoidable, there are steps you can take to minimise the swollen ankles.
- Consume less caffeine: even though caffeine increases urination, it actually triggers your body to hold onto fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Limit your salt intake: excessive salt intake will encourage fluid retention. Keep your salt intake just rightis necessary for the optimum functioning of your body.Remember to read the food labels on processed foods you consume. Salt lurks everywhere!
- Comfortable shoes may not be aesthetically appealing to you right now, but reducing leg and back pain should be your priority during pregnancy. At home wear soft, rubber soled shoes to keep you safe and comfortable.
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What You Can Do
Until then, you can try these solutions for relief:
Take it easy. Swelling can get worse when you spend long amounts of time standing and walking. Rest often, and elevate your feet.
Try this yoga pose. Place your raised legs against a wall as you lie on your back, or your left side. The large vein that brings blood from your lower body to your heart wonât have the weight of your uterus on it.
Use compression socks. These stop fluid from building up. You should start with ones with light compression and put them on when you wake up. These are different from other socks or pant bottoms that are too tight around your ankles and calves and block blood flow.
Move around a little. Light exercise, like multiple short walks throughout the day, or simply flexing your foot can help prevent swelling that can happen when you stay in one position for too long.
Time in the pool may be beneficial, too. As you walk in a pool, your muscles help move fluid out of tissues. You should talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise routine.
Hydrate. Eight to 10 glasses of water each day can keep you hydrated and help keep your body from holding onto extra fluid.