Get Plenty Of Protein Adequate Salt And Other Essential Nutrients
Pregnant women can be carrying an additional 20 lbs of fluid in the third trimester. Swelling is a common and natural result of this increased fluid. Essential nutrients and minerals directly aeffect how well your body is able to process all that extra fluid, also known as electrolyte balance.
Avoid processed and packaged foods, which contain high amounts of regular table salt, and opt for whole foods and unprocessed sea salt that contains all the good-for-you trace minerals and nutrients that will help maintain optimal electrolyte balance and reduce or prevent swelling. For more information on pregnancy nutrition, read our article on Healthy eating during pregnancy.
When Do Feet Start Swelling During Pregnancy
You will likely notice your feet and ankles swelling around week 21 to week 27 of pregnancy. From this point onwards you will likely experience swelling until you give birth.
When to See Your Doctor
While swelling in the feet is a normal part of pregnancy there can sometimes be a more serious problem associate with this swelling.
One of these problems is called preeclampsia. This is a condition that can develop during pregnancy and causes dangerously high blood pressure.
So if you notice a lot of swelling this early on, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, or bleeding, please call your doctor.
When Do I Need To Worry
While some swelling can be a regular part of pregnancy, excessive or sudden onset of swelling is cause for concern, as this can be a sign of preeclampsia.
Other signs of preeclampsia include:
- High blood pressure.
- Pain in the upper right abdomen.
- Weight gain of more than two pounds in one week.
- Shortness of breath.
Be sure to contact your health care provider if you experience any of these signs of preeclampsia throughout your pregnancy, as the condition can lead to seizures, stroke, kidney and liver failure, and even stillbirth and maternal death. Preeclampsia is nothing to mess around with!
You should call your doctor if one of your legs is significantly more swollen than the other, as this can be a sign of a blood clot. You might also have tenderness, heat in the area, or pain in your calf or thigh. Your provider will most likely order an ultrasound to rule out a clot.
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What The Doctor Does
Doctors first ask questions about the swelling and other symptoms and about the medical history. Doctors then do a physical examination. What they find during the history and physical examination often suggests a cause of the swelling and the tests that may need to be done .
Doctors ask the following:
How long it has been present
Whether any activity lessens or worsens it
Lying on the left side decreases physiologic edema.
Doctors also ask about conditions that increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, preeclampsia, and peripartum cardiomyopathy.
Women are asked about other symptoms, which may suggest a cause. They are asked whether they have ever had deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, or heart problems, including cardiomyopathy.
During the physical examination, doctors look for evidence of a serious cause. To check for symptoms of preeclampsia, doctors measure blood pressure, listen to the heart and lungs, and may check the woman’s reflexes and look at the back of her eyes with an ophthalmoscope . Doctors also look for areas of swelling, particularly in the legs, hands, and face. Any swollen areas are checked to see if they are red, warm, or tender.
Swollen Ankles Feet And Fingers In Pregnancy
It’s normal to get some swelling in pregnancy, particularly in your legs, ankles, feet and fingers.
It’s often worse at the end of the day and further into your pregnancy.
Swelling that comes on gradually is not usually harmful to you or your baby, but it can be uncomfortable.
A sudden increase in swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a condition that needs to be monitored as soon as possible.
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When To See Your Healthcare Provider
If you notice any swelling or any of the symptoms listed above, see your healthcare provider, who will assess what might be causing the swelling. In some cases, your provider might prescribe a diuretic, a medication that helps expel the excess fluid.
If you also experience difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain, see your provider as soon as possible. These might be signs of pulmonary edema , which needs to be treated immediately.
If your hands or face swell suddenly during your pregnancy, notify your healthcare provider immediately. Swelling in the hands or face could be one of the signs of preeclampsia, a blood pressure disorder.
Causes Of Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
Swelling in some areas of the body is normal and common for most people during pregnancy. It develops for several reasons, including changes in hormones, blood volume, fluid, and circulation.
Increases in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy slow down digestion and circulation. The changes in digestion lead to more fluid being absorbed by the large intestine, which increases fluid volume. Progesterone also slows down circulation and relaxes blood vessels, making it easier for fluid to build up in the feet.
In addition to hormonal changes, there is just more fluid and blood in the body as pregnancy progresses. The pregnant persons blood volume increases about 45% or 1.21.6 liters during pregnancy.
The increased blood helps support a healthy pregnancy and fetal growth and prepares the body for labor. But it also means there is more fluid to build up in the feet.
Swelling in the feet may also be worse when:
- The weather is hot or humid.
- You spend long hours standing.
- You wear tight clothing, jewelry, or shoes.
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What Causes Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy
In most cases, the swelling is due to fluid retention. While youre pregnant, your body produces up to 50% more blood and fluids to properly nourish your baby. But there are several factors that can lead to swollen ankles while you are pregnant such as:
- Hot, humid environment- summer months are worst
- Lack of potassium in your diet
- Too much salt in your diet
- Too much caffeine in your system
- Poor circulation
- Preeclampsia or eclampsia
Preeclampsia and eclampsia can be serious problems for pregnant women. Preeclampsia, also called pregnancy-induced hypertension, usually occurs from the 20th week of pregnancy until a week after delivery. Preeclampsia affects your blood pressure, kidney function and your central nervous system. When seizures or comas occur, it is referred to as eclampsia.
Signs and symptoms typically include a significant rise in blood pressure, swelling or puffiness in face, hands and feet that is worse in the morning, and excessive weight gain . Severe cases of preeclampsia can cause symptoms such as blurred vision, headaches, irritability, and abdominal pain. Urine tests may be needed for a proper diagnosis.
Preeclampsia is more common among African Americans, mothers over the age of 40 or less than 20, mothers who are carrying more than one fetus, mothers who are obese before conception and during pregnancy, and those with a family history or previous experience with the condition.
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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Treatment And Prevention For Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy
For most women, the swelling subsides within two weeks of delivery. Until then, treating and preventing swollen ankles is necessary. Most of the treatment options work as preventive measures. Here are some tips to help you deal with swollen ankles and symptoms of swollen ankles:
- Rest your feet as often as possible
- Elevate your feet while resting
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids during the day
- Reduce or avoid salt/sodium
- Avoid tight clothing, especially around your lower extremities
- Eat healthy and exercise regularly
- Watch for and report any additional symptoms that appear to your doctor or midwife
- Avoid warm, humid environments if possible
- Use cold compresses on swollen areas
- Rest or swim in a pool 2-3 times per week if possible
- Wear supportive stockings, socks and/or tights
- If you are diabetic, you should check your feet daily for changes
How To Reduce Swelling In Your Feet During Pregnancy
Your healthcare provider is the best person to turn to for expert advice. Here are some preventive strategies and home remedies your provider might suggest if youâre experiencing moderately swollen legs, ankles, and feet during your pregnancy:
Swollen legs, feet, and ankles are common symptoms of pregnancy. Although this kind of mild swelling is often nothing to worry about, itâs always safest to ask your healthcare provider just to double check. In the meantime, by trying some of the tips weâve listed you may be able to reduce some of the swelling, and feel a little more comfortable.
Yes, having swollen feet might be an uncomfortable change youâre experiencing during pregnancy, but remember that once your little one is born your feet will gradually go back to normal and all of these annoyances will have been worth it.
When you have a little spare time, put your feet up, grab a cup of tea, and download the Pampers Club app to start earning rewards for all your product purchases.
- See all sources
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Preeclampsia A Dangerous Cause Of Swollen Ankles
Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy thats characterized by an increase in the pregnant womans blood pressure, among other issues. Although the initial symptoms of such a condition are subtle, its potentially serious for the mother and the baby.
One of the first manifestations of preeclampsia is sudden swelling of the ankles or feet. Therefore, when edema appears, you need to consult a physician as soon as possible.
As the condition progresses, other manifestations begin to appear and should be attended to immediately:
- Severe headache
- Sudden worsening of swelling of the hands, feet, or face
- Problems with vision
- Stabbing pain below the rib region
While the above symptoms are highly suggestive of preeclampsia, sudden swelling of the legs or ankles may also have to do with other causes. For example, when it appears suddenly and on only one side of the body, it could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis.
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 .
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When Does Swelling Begin During Pregnancy
Its most common for swelling to develop later in pregnancy, usually during the third trimester . However, it can start around the fifth month or sooner in some cases. It could even start earlier in pregnancy for people who live in hot climates or spend long hours standing.
Often, the swelling will continue until after you give birth. The extra fluid usually goes away within a few days or weeks after delivering your baby.
Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy
If your ankles swell up while you are pregnant, do not worry, you are not alone. Swollen ankles during pregnancy are a very common occurrence, especially at the 35th week of pregnancy or at the end of your last trimester. Although it can be uncomfortable and difficult to deal with at times, the swelling is benefiting your body.
Swelling occurs during pregnancy due to the increase of fluids that the body is retaining. While you are pregnant, your body produces up to 50% more blood and fluids to nourish your baby. Twenty-five percent of the weight gained during pregnancy is due to fluid retention. Many times, the swelling is seen in the feet, ankles, legs, face and hands. The retention of fluid may be uncomfortable, but it plays an important role during labor and delivery. As your body retains the fluid, it softens itself, which allows it to expand as your baby grows larger. It also helps prepare your pelvic joints and tissues to open for the passage of your baby through the birth canal.
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Normal Or Abnormal Swelling
Most pregnant women have swollen feet and ankles at some point, and this is perfectly normal. However, there are times when swelling could indicate something more serious.
Contact your midwife, doctor or hospital immediately if:
- swelling is there at the start of the day or doesn’t go down when you rest
- your face or hands are swollen
- the swelling is more than you have had before
These are warning signs for pre-eclampsia, which is high blood pressure caused by pregnancy. This is a very serious condition both for you and your baby, so call your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. Don’t wait for your next regular appointment.
If one leg is more swollen than the other, this could suggest a more serious problem with one of your veins, such as deep vein thrombosis. Again, contact your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.
Most swelling is a normal part of pregnancy and will usually go away after you’ve given birth. However, if you’re concerned about anything, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, talk to your doctor or midwife.
You can also call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to talk to a maternal child health nurse.
How To Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, pregnancy and swelling go hand in hand. However, your belly isn’t the only thing that swells during pregnancy. Most women notice mild swelling throughout their bodies particularly, thanks to the laws of gravity, in their ankles and feet. But it isn’t just gravity that causes pregnancy feet swelling.
A woman’s body produces extra blood to support the growing baby. Blood circulates away from the heart through the arteries and back to the heart through the veins. A large vein called the inferior vena cava re-circulates blood from the legs to the heart. It has rigid walls to prevent blood from flowing backward. By the 22nd week of pregnancy, the uterus has expanded enough that the IVC can’t relax to let enough blood flow upward, so blood and fluid accumulate below the belly.
If you could just spend the whole day in bed with enough pillows to keep your toes over your nose, fluid accumulation wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, most pregnant women have to spend substantial time on their feet. If they dare to take off their shoes for a little relief, it may be impossible to get them back on. So what are the secrets of reducing feet swelling during pregnancy when its making you miserable?
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Coping With Swollen Legs And Feet During Pregnancy
1. Wear compression socks
Wearing 15-20mmHG compression socks that end at your knee can help alleviate achiness. The socks gradually increase pressure in your legs and move some of the excess fluid back into your blood vessels and the rest of your body.
Avoid socks with a tight band at the top. The tightness might worsen swelling by blocking blood return. That can increase your risk of developing a blood clot which is already five times higher during pregnancy. You dont need to purchase medical-grade socks, but you can find a good pair of compression socks for $10-$20.
Compression socks also can prevent the formation of new varicose veins, which occur in 15% of pregnant women for the same reason that causes swelling. The risk doubles after your first pregnancy and is four times higher in women over 35. These veins start out as little bumps under your skin the socks squeeze them just enough to prevent backward blood flow and bulging. Existing varicose veins arent likely to shrink, but compression socks can reduce the pain and discomfort they cause.
2. Rest efficiently
You can easily improve blood circulation during downtime and sleep:
3. Get your feet wet
Immersing your feet and ankles in cool water for 20 minutes a few times a week can minimize swelling, whether you use a pool, bathtub, or even a large bowl. Bonus: Its also a great way to deal with the Texas heat if youre pregnant during the summer.
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