When Swelling Becomes Serious
While gradual swelling in your lower and upper extremities is normal, sudden or severe swelling in your face, hands, or feet might be a symptom ofpreeclampsia. This pregnancy complication involves very high blood pressure.
If you have preeclampsia, you may need to stay in the hospital until you give birth. Delivery is the only way to treat preeclampsia. Left untreated, the condition can cause seizures, kidney or liver damage, and in rare cases, death.
Talk with your doctor about foot and leg swelling, as well as any other pregnancy symptoms. The more we know about your current condition, the more we can help reduce your risk of future complications.
While we cant fully prevent foot and leg swelling, we can recommend ways to reduce your risk, such as:
Symptoms Of Normal Pregnancy Swelling
Its completely normal to shed a little tear the day your rings and favorite heels dont fit anymore . A little gradual swelling in your fingers, legs, ankles, and feet throughout pregnancy is part of the journey.
You may find that your swelling tends to worsen toward the end of the day. This is because the extra fluid in your body can gather in the parts of your body farthest from your heart. A hotter, humid day or a lot of standing can contribute to some normal swelling, too.
Moving into the second and third trimesters, more pressure from your little ones growing size in addition to more blood volume may further affect blood flow in your legs, ankles, and feet, causing you to experience even more swelling.
How To Relieve Leg Swelling
To alleviate leg swelling, avoid sitting or standing for more than an hour at a time. Walking increases blood circulation, which helps alleviate puffiness. Elevating your legs can also help encourage blood flow to your heart and lungs by raising your legs six to 12 inches above your heart for 12-20 minutes.
Avoid lying on your right side or flat on your back, which puts the full weight of your uterus on the vena cava. Instead, lie on your left side, a position that exerts the least amount of pressure, says Rini Ratan, MD, assistant director of labor and delivery at Columbia-Presbyterian Eastside, in New York City.
Also, be sure to drink plenty of water, which actually helps keep the body from retaining fluids. Drink less caffeine, avoid eating too much salt, and wear comfy shoeseven slippers whenever possible.
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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.
Reduce Pregnancy Puffiness And Swelling By Eating Right
Yes, you hear this all the time, but it is especially important when pregnant. So, what exactly does eating right mean?
Reducing your salt intake will go a long way to keep down the swelling. Be especially conscientious about eliminating prepackaged foods. It may seem easy to grab them when fixing a quick meal, but they are loaded with salt, fat, and sugar. Canned foods, snacks, chips, and luncheon meats should be off the menu during pregnancy. Sorry, ladies.
It is also recommended to avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks as they tend to cause water retention.
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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Keep Your Blood Flowing
Regular and simple exercise like swimming and walking can help with fluid retention. Standing in water for 20 minutes will decrease swelling.
Ditch your heels for now and wear comfortable shoes, and dont stand on your feet for long periods of time without moving. Use orthotic inserts in your shoes to reduce leg and lower back pain, and avoid crossing your legs while pregnant as it restricts blood flow.
Other tips include sleeping on your left side to encourage blood to return to the heart, and elevating your legs whenever possible. Swelling gets worse at the end of the day so take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to put some pillows under your legs and relax. You deserve it.
When Does Swelling Occur During Pregnancy
Swelling may be experienced at any point during pregnancy, but it tends to be noticed around the fifth month and can increase while you are in the third trimester.
The following factors may also affect swelling:
- Summertime heat
- High level of caffeine consumption
- High level of sodium intake
Slight swelling is expected during pregnancy however, if you experience sudden swelling in your hands and your face, it could be a sign of preeclampsia. It is important to contact your health care provider about any sudden swelling.
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Exercise For 30 Minutes A Day
If you decide to exercise, make sure its not too hard on your body. Gentler activities like yoga or swimming are great to keep your blood and fluids circulating throughout your body so they have less of a tendency to settle in your feet. Make sure whatever exercise you choose is doctor-approved and not too strenuous!
Swelling In The Third Trimester
The third trimester is the most common time to experience swollen feet. Your body is continuing to build its supply of blood and fluids, which can contribute to swelling.
Other factors that cause swelling in the feet are:
How Can I Reduce Swelling in My Ankles during Pregnancy?
I want you to start by watching my video that will give you some good exercises you can do at home. Also, here are some tips to help you.
1. Reduce Sodium Intake
You may be able to reduce swelling during pregnancy by limiting your sodium intake. Salt makes your body hold on to extra water. Be sure to check with your doctor as for some pregnant women, they need to increase their levels of sodium.
2. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Drinking too much caffeine can also make swelling worse. Caffeine is a diuretic, which causes you to pee more, which then makes your body think it needs to hold on to fluid.
3. Increase Potassium Intake
Being deficient in potassium can also make swelling worse, as potassium helps your body balance the amount of fluids it holds onto.
4. Stay Hydrated
Drink more water will help. If your body thinks you’re dehydrated, it will hold on to even more fluid to try to compensate.
5. Stay cool
Avoid vigorous exercise out doors in the heat. Exercise inside as this can help keep you cool and reduce swelling.
7. Wear comfortable shoes
8. A Massage May Help
9. Sleep on your left side
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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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How To Relieve Painful Swollen Ankles And Feet Quickly
Potential solutions to your swollen feet or ankles could already be in your kitchen cabinet or scattered around your living room. And, if not, a quick trip to the store might be all it takes to find some relief.
Here are a half-dozen easy-to-try home remedies worth some consideration.
A hug sometimes seems like it can make everything better and that sentiment applies to swollen feet and ankles, too.
Compression socks offer a gentle squeeze to your legs that promotes better blood circulation. This helps prevent fluid from collecting in your ankles and feet, which works to minimize swelling and pain.
Finding compression socks wont be difficult. Theyre widely available at various stores, ranging from pharmacies to shoe retailers and online. They also come in a variety of weights, from light, medium and heavier weight.
Dr. Botek suggests starting with lightweight socks. Be sure you select a pair that isnt too tight for your body. Put them on in the morning and wear them as long as you remain comfortable.
Gravity never stops working. If you have swollen feet or ankles, let gravity work for you.
Elevating your legs above the level of your heart helps drain built-up fluid from your lower extremities, says Dr. Botek. Basically, you give your circulatory system a little assistance by letting gravity do its thing.
Foods that are high in magnesium include:
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How Can I Reduce Swelling
Some simple things can help you feel more comfortable and can also aid in preventing swelling.
- avoid standing for long periods without moving
- wear comfortable shoes
- put your feet up as much as you can
- limit salty foods and excessive salt in your diet
- sleep on your left side, which will help blood return to the heart
- exercise regularly by walking or swimming this helps keep your circulation going
If you need to stand for long periods, try to move around and change position regularly.
Compression stockings can help the blood flow back to the heart and limit how much swelling you get. Massage and reflexology might also help reduce swelling and associated symptoms.
Even if your swelling is bothering you, remember to still drink plenty of water. Keeping your fluids up is important to avoid dehydration and stay healthy.
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.
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How To Relieve Leg Cramps
To relieve pregnancy leg pains, Dr. Leikin suggests eating more dairy products or asking your doctor about calcium supplements. Snack on potassium-rich bananas or dried apricots, because women who get pregnancy leg cramps may have a potassium deficiency. You can also boost your circulation by taking a 15- to 20-minute walk in the evening . And avoid standing or sitting in one position for too long, since this can cause fluid to accumulate, making your legs feel heavy or full of pressure.
If you find yourself in the middle of a leg cramp, ease the pain by resting your calf on a hot-water bottle or flexing your foot to stretch the calf. The best solution is walking, but if it’s the middle of the night and you don’t feel like getting out of bed, try grasping your foot with both hands and gently pressing your thumbs into the arch, pushing toward your toes
Gently stretching your calf muscle can relieve cramping as well. To do this, straighten your leg and flex your foot . It may be tempting to point your toes, but this usually makes the pain worse.
Pregnancy And Foot Pain: How Mothers
During pregnancy, it’s not uncommon for women to experience an array of aches and pains all over the body. Among these complaints are tired, swollen, achy feet- a common and painful symptom experienced by mothers-to-be during their nine months of pregnancy.
One of the most common foot problems that occur during pregnancy is swelling or edema, which results from the extra accumulation of blood. The natural weight gain and enlarging uterus puts pressure on the veins that lead to the legs, causing circulation to slow down and increasing fluid retention. The legs and feet may become swollen, making shoes tight, and in some cases causing pain and discomfort. Slight swelling during pregnancy is normal and usually subsides after giving birth. Women should pay close attention to edema symptoms. Swelling to the face or a sudden onset of swelling could be a sign of a more serious condition called preeclampsia and should be reported immediately.
- Take short breaks during the day and elevate your feet to relieve pressure and swelling.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wear shoes that are soft, comfortable and give your feet room to move.
- Wear seamless socks that do not constrict circulation.
- Exercise or walk regularly to promote overall health.
- Stretch legs frequently and avoid crossing your legs when sitting.
- To prevent arch pain, stretch daily, avoid going barefoot and wear supportive low-heeled shoes.
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Do Pregnancy Cankles Go Away
While swollen ankles arent usually a major health concern according to the Mayo Clinic, the swelling tends to go away on its own after the baby is born, and is usually just a sign of fluid retention they can be annoying, unsightly, and another thing to worry about for already-stressed moms-to-be.
Ways To Reduce Pregnancy Puffiness And Swelling
If you have already had one child, then you know the drill. Pregnancy puffiness and swelling are all part of the deal that comes with bringing new life into the world. With all the joys of waiting for your baby to arrive, including the so-called glow, you also experience the annoying puffiness and swelling.
If you are pregnant and uncomfortable, consider these 5 ways to reduce said pregnancy puffiness and swelling.
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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.
Two Things That Cause Normal Swelling In Pregnancy
Some women experience swelling in pregnancy that is unrelieved by rest and position change. Again, when it is of gradual onset and remains in the legs or arms it is usually normal.
When you google swelling in pregnancy the word pre-eclampsia is commonly pops up. The definition of pre-eclampsia is an elevation of blood pressure in pregnancy that is associated with protein in the urine, a headache unrelieved with Tylenol, hydration and rest, visual disturbances, epigastric pain or other lab abnormalities. Swelling in pregnancy can potentially be a side effect of this condition but it is NOT the way pre-eclampsia is diagnosed.
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