How To Help Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

What Are The Benefits Of Foot Massage During Pregnancy

How to Relieve Swollen Feet and Ankles When Pregnant

If youre looking for facts to justify that nightly foot massage, below are some potential benefits.

  • Reduced depression and anxiety. A small 2020 research review with 8 studies involving pregnant women who received massage therapy showed that participants across groups reported decreased depression and anxiety.
  • Lower cortisol levels. Massage lowers the levels of cortisol . The result? An overall feeling of relaxation and warmth.
  • Shortened labor. The benefits of massage therapy in labor arent something to sneeze at. The same study above noted that massaged women labored 3 fewer hours and needed less medication, on average.
  • Benefits for baby. The study also showed that newborns of massaged mothers were less likely to be born prematurely and have a low birth weight. They likewise showed lower cortisol levels than newborns of mothers in the control group, potentially translating to a calmer baby.
  • Postpartum benefits. While it might seem too good to be true, the benefits of massage therapy extend to after birth too. Postpartum depression and cortisol levels were lower in the massaged women.

Now youre on board and want to know exactly how massage works to bring about all these benefits, right? Researchers think that they can put it down to increased vagal activity.

Put it all together: a more relaxed mommy, shorter labor, and calmer and more-developed baby. Youre off to a good start!

Where And When Will I Get Swelling

The swelling should be only in your feet and ankles. Your fingers might get a little larger enough to make any rings feel tight but they shouldn’t be obviously swollen.

Your feet and ankles are likely to swell later in the day. This is mainly due to gravity any extra fluid in your body will sink to your feet and ankles, especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet.

Swelling is also more likely to happen later in your pregnancy.

Gradual swelling isn’t harmful to you or your baby, but it can feel uncomfortable.

Why Do Women Experience Swelling During Pregnancy

There are 3 main reasons women experience swelling while pregnant.

  • Throughout pregnancy, you produce more blood than usual to help your baby grow.
  • As the baby grows, your uterus presses on and slightly blocks the veins that return blood from your legs to your heart.
  • Your hormones make the walls of your veins softer, which makes it harder for them to work properly.

For these reasons, your blood tends to pool in your legs. There, a small amount of blood leaks through tiny blood vessels into the tissues and produces the swelling you can see and feel.

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Dont Sit Or Stand For Long Periods Of Time

This may be tricky if you work in an office, but changing positions often can really help relieve edema in pregnancy. A treadmill desk is a great solution, but if you cant get one of those, you can try a standing desk, or sitting for a while and getting away from the desk frequently to get circulation flowing.

When To Contact A Doctor For Pregnancy Swelling


Mild ankle and foot swelling during pregnancy is to be expected. However, sudden and painful swelling, especially in just one leg, may be a sign of deep venous thrombosis or a blood clot.

At times, sudden swelling is also indicative of preeclampsia. Its a potentially serious condition that affects women, particularly those with chronic illnesses, late in their pregnancy.

Be sure to contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Sudden swelling of the face, hands, or feet
  • Severe headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Severe pain right below the ribs
  • Sudden shortness of breath

In general, swelling during pregnancy is a common occurrence for most women. Do everything you can to lessen its impact on your body, and seek medical attention if the condition worsens.

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Foot Massage During Pregnancy: Safety Benefits Risks And Tips

You banked on a bigger tummy, but you were probably hoping to avoid the thicker ankles and plump toes that signal youre in your third trimester.

Theres no denying it, those swollen limbs throb and ache, especially at the end of a long day on your feet. But keep smiling because a foot massage might just give you the relief youre craving and more.

Elevate Your Feet And Rest

Even though you have a million things you want to get done before baby arrives, try to sit and put your feet up when possible.

While sitting all the time isnt great for your circulation, standing all the time is also hard on your beautiful pregnant body.

Sitting with your feet elevated for a little while especially at the end of the day can help drain the fluid thats been pooling in your legs over the course of the day.

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When Feet Swelling Could Be Cause For Concern

Swollen feet are usually due to normal changes in pregnancy, but they can also be a sign of preeclampsia, or more rarely significant heart problems, says Dr. Savitsky. Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure in pregnancy, is usually accompanied by protein in the urine, indicating kidney or liver damage. It occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is potentially very harmful to both you and your baby. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , approximately one in 25 pregnant people will develop the condition.

“If someone has a sudden onset of swelling in their feet or elsewhere in their body that isnt their normal amount of swelling at the end of the day, they should call their OB provider to discuss the symptoms and decide whether they need to be seen for a blood pressure check or other labs,” says Dr. Savitsky.

Though rare, Dr. Savitsky points out that preeclampsia can occur after you have given birth, so don’t dismiss any swelling you may experience after delivery. Be sure to bring it up with your healthcare provider.

If only one leg is swollen, that could also be a sign of a DVT in that leg. “Usually, in this case, that one leg tends to have some calf tenderness and sometimes some redness in the calf,” explains Dr. Savitsky. Be sure to call your healthcare provider if you are concerned to discuss symptoms further.

Are There Risks Associated With Swollen Ankles And Feet

Ease swollen feet during pregnancy with 4 MUST DO steps

Although it sure isn’t swell , mild swelling of the ankles and feet caused by edema is harmless and perfectly normal.

However if your face becomes puffy, if you notice more than five pounds of weight gain in one week, or if the severity of the swelling persists for more than a day at a time , call your practitioner.Trusted SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionUrgent Maternal Warning SignsSee All Sources

Excessive swelling can be one sign of preeclampsia but when it is, it’s always accompanied by other symptoms . If your blood pressure and urine are normal, there’s nothing to be concerned about. Edema or swelling is never the only symptom of preeclampsia, so once you’re evaluated by your doctor or midwife, you can feel confident nothing concerning is going on in your pregnancy.

Rarely, swelling in the legs could be a sign of a deep vein thrombosis , a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. Swelling from DVT tends to affect only one leg , might cause a feeling of heaviness when you stand up, pain in the calf when flexing the foot, or skin that’s red or warm to the touch.

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Swollen Feet During Pregnancy Are Invisible For Most Women However There Are Some Things That You Can Do To Avoid This Condition Heres What You Need To Know

Listen to this article

Pregnancy comes at a cost, which means it has its pros and cons. And for many moms-to-be, it shows up in the form of certain side effects. From the start of pregnancy to delivery, a mother has to go through a lot during the process. One of the most common complications during this time is swelling of the feet, or what the experts refer to as edema.

Edema in the feet can occur at any stage of pregnancy, but it can get severe during the third trimester. According to the American Pregnancy Association, swelling is a normal part of pregnancy that is caused by additional blood and fluid that the body produces to meet the needs of the developing baby.

However, there are some ways that can help to reduce the swelling. Lets take a look at them:

1. Epsom salt foot soak

A commonly used home remedy is to soak your legs in a tub of warm water. Epsom salt foot soak doesnt just reduce swelling and inflammation, but also can help with muscle pain.

To make epsom salt foot soak:
  • Fill your tub with warm water, until its deep enough to cover your feet.
  • Add 1/2 cup of epsom salt to the warm water.
  • Soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes, twice a week.
  • Feel free to add a couple of drops of essential oil such as lavender, rose or rosemary.

You can also take a full epsom salt bath by adding it to your bathtub. Just make sure the water isnt too hot!

2. Elevate your feet
3. Get plenty of potassium

When Does Swelling Occur During Pregnancy

Pregnancy swelling could happen at any time, but it most often presents itself during month 5, and gradually increases as you enter the third trimester.

Other contributing factors include:

  • Hot weather, especially when youre being physically active
  • Fatigue and standing for extended periods of time
  • A high-sodium diet

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Tips To Relieve Normal Pregnancy Swelling

Sometimes, swelling may be as inevitable as that supersonic sense of smell and burning indigestion that you take in stride with the pure joys of pregnancy. However, here are a few things that you can do to help prevent or ease it.

  • Elevate your feet at a level above your heart throughout the day, as this helps the fluid circulate back to your heart.
  • Drink more water to flush extra fluid and sodium out of your body.
  • Wear compression stockings to improve circulation, especially if youre taking a long flight.

We know every mama bear wants to know when to panic. The answer? Never. Panicking only boosts your emotional and physical stress. Instead, feel empowered by learning when to call your OB-GYN or midwife about swelling.

The two most concerning conditions during pregnancy that can cause swelling are preeclampsia and a blood clot.

First thing to remember: These conditions arent common, but the risk is real during pregnancy. Therefore, its important to be aware of them.

Secondly, swelling associated with these conditions is different than the normal, gradual swelling you may experience over the course of your pregnancy.

Heres how the swelling is different.

What Does Swollen Legs Mean In Pregnancy

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Normal pregnancy swelling Throughout the day the extra water tends to gather in the lowest parts of the body, especially if the weather is hot or you have been standing a lot. The pressure of your growing womb can also affect the blood flow in your legs. This can cause fluid to build up in your legs, ankles and feet.

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What Foot Problems Can Arise During Pregnancy

One problem that can occur is overpronation, which occurs when the arch of the foot flattens and tends to roll inward. This can cause pain and discomfort in your heels while youre walking or even just standing up, trying to support your baby.

Another problem is edema, or swelling in the extremities. This often affects the feet during pregnancy but tends to occur in the later stages.

Dont Sit Or Stand For Long Periods

Being in one position for too long keeps blood from circulating, thus causing the chance for fluid to collect in the feet. This can be a challenge, especially if you have an office job or a super active job, where standing all day long. While working in an office, likely sitting all day, make sure to take small, frequent breaks to stand up and move. This will give a chance for blood to circulate, and for the edema to split more evenly throughout the body.

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Go Easy On The Caffeine

To help combat swollen feet, even more, replace your morning cup of coffee with some chamomile or peppermint tea. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases how often you use the bathroom. When youre pregnant, this can easily lead to dehydration and fluid retention. Both chamomile and peppermint tea also have many beneficial trace mineralsincluding potassium.

How To Stop Feet From Swelling While Pregnant:

Swollen Feet Pregnancy FIX (STOP Pregnancy Edema Fast!)

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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Stay Comfortable And Healthy During Pregnancy

  • Pregnancy is a momentous experience, both emotionally and physically. Your body will undergo immense changes in the nine months and beyond. As your baby belly expands, so will the pressure on your back, abdomen and pelvis so its important to listen to your body and to keep yourself as comfortable as possible. Our selection of Maternity Wear will help you do just that.
  • For more information on how to stay healthy pregnancy, visit our section on Pregnancy & Birth for information on nutrition, exercise, birth readiness, postpartum care and more.

What Are The Risks Of Foot Massage During Pregnancy

Massage responsibly. Massage is not for you if you have a history of blood clots in your legs or the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis , such as a hot, swollen area on your leg. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect DVT.

Now that youre raring to reap the benefits of massage, keep in mind the three acupressure points that you may want to avoid touching. Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medical practice. While its controversial, some research supports its effectiveness in reducing labor pain and anxiety. Practitioners also believe certain acupressure points can induce labor, although the scientific evidence for this effect is lacking.

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Sleep On Your Left Side

Sleeping on your left side when possible can improve blood flow, which reduces swelling of the feet. Lying on your left side takes the pressure of your uterus off of the inferior vena cava, which is the large blood vessel that returns blood to your heart.

When can you expect your feet to start puffing up? Well, the good news is that its usually later on in pregnancy. So youll likely recognize your feet for the first half or more of your pregnancy.

How Can I Reduce Swelling In My Third Trimester

My Miserable Pregnancy

Finding Relief for Normal Swelling in Pregnancy

  • Rest, lying down.
  • Avoid long periods of standing or sitting down — take frequent breaks and include stretching.
  • Don’t cross legs when sitting.
  • Drink plenty of water, which will help flush fluids.
  • Wear compression socks or tights.
  • Limit time spent in the heat.
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    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?

    What Can I Eat To Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy

    Try to eat more lean proteins like fish, poultry, turkey, or beef. You can also pair these proteins with lots of fresh or frozen vegetables. Increase your potassium by eating bananas, sweet potatoes, avocado, and kidney beans. Potassium helps to reduce swelling by keeping your body chemically balanced.

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    When To See Your Doctor

    Edema is usually harmless, but if the swelling comes on very suddenly and strongly, it can be a sign of preeclampsia. This is a serious condition. If you experience preeclampsia, swelling in the hands, feet, or face would likely be accompanied by a spike in blood pressure.

    • abdominal and or shoulder pain
    • lower back pain

    Can Swollen Feet Ever Be A Sign That Something Is Wrong

    3 Ways to Soothe Swollen Feet from Pregnancy

    Some swelling in your feet during pregnancy is normal, but if it appears abruptly or if you notice that you are also getting swelling in your hands at the same time, call your health-care provider immediately: These could be signs of preeclampsia, a type of pregnancy-related high blood pressure than can be very dangerous. You should be aware, too, that diuretics to reduce water retention are considered unsafe for pregnant women, unless they are advised by a physician to treat preeclampsia.

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