Swollen Feet and Legs During Pregnancy

Experiencing Swollen Feet and Legs During Pregnancy? Your ankles and feet, along with your hands and fingers quite often swell slightly during pregnancy.This happens because your body retains more fluid than usual. This type of swelling tends to be worse during hot weather, or if you have been standing all day on your feet. It isn’t dangerous for you or your baby and it shouldn’t cause any significant pain.

Swollen Feet and Legs During PregnancyAvoiding and easing swollen ankles

Here are some steps you can take to prevent swollen feet and ankles. These tips can also help to ease the discomfort if your feet and ankles are already swollen.

  • Wear shoes that feel comfortable, they should not be too tight or have straps that can pinch your feet when they swell. You may find your shoe size increases with pregnancy and may not go down after the birth. The worst thing to do is try to wear those shoes that no longer fit your feet.
  • If you are wearing socks, ensure that there is no tight elastic around the top – if you are unable to find socks without elastic, simply cutting the elastic will suffice, just make sure they aren’t your favourite pair of socks!
  • Avoid standing or sitting still for long periods of time.
  • During the day, take every opportunity you can to elevate your feet with a pillow. If you are still at work, place a box or a footrest underneath your desk to elevate your legs while sitting.
  • Incorporate low impact exercise in your daily routine – swimming, yoga, pilates, walking and aqua aerobics are a great option to keep the fluid circulating.
  • Avoid crossing your legs – this cuts off the circulation at the knee and causes fluid to pool in your legs.
  • Sleep on your left side – this reduces the compression of the baby on your major arteries which remove the fluid from your legs.
  • Reduce your salt intake – high salt diets increase fluid retention.
  • Drink water regularly – this may sound like the last thing you want to do when you have too much fluid in your legs, but water flushes toxins out of your body that can cause swelling.
  • Invest in a pair of maternity compression stockings – these work by pushing the fluid back up your legs. Make sure that you get the correct size fitted by a professional as compression stockings that are too tight can cause problems like blood clots.

When is swelling serious?

Not all swelling is normal. You should urgently seek medical attention if your feet, hands or face swell suddenly, or if the swelling is causing you significant discomfort. A medical condition called pre-eclampsia may be the cause and you will require extra care and monitoring by your healthcare providers.

  • Other signs of pre-eclampsia can include:
    Vision changes, such as flashes and blurred vision
  • A severe headache
  • Vomiting
  • Severe pain in your abdomen below your ribs.

You are more at risk of suffering from pre-eclampsia if you have any of the following:

  • A family history of pre-eclampsia
  • Aged 40 or older
  • High blood pressure prior to being pregnant
  • Kidney Disease
  • A BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or higher
  • A multiple pregnancy – having 2 or more babies.
  • More than 10 years since your last pregnancy.

Author Bio: Jessica Tennant is a podiatrist who specializes in pregnancy and paediatric foot problems. http://www.stepuppodiatry.com

Did you suffer from swelling during your pregnancy? Share your experience with us below.

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5 Comments on Swollen Feet and Legs During Pregnancy

  1. Leigh-ann
    January 24, 2015 at 3:15 pm (5 years ago)

    Pregnancy is such a weird phenomenon – it’s handy to know what’s ‘normal’ and what’s not! x

    • Louise
      January 24, 2015 at 3:23 pm (5 years ago)

      It really is! It’s a good thing babies are so darn cute and cuddly 🙂

  2. Christine
    January 24, 2015 at 3:43 pm (5 years ago)

    Lovely and informative. At 31 weeks pregnant in the summer heat, I can so relate to this. I’ve found that elevating my feet with an ice pack resting under them is AMAZING! Helps to reduce the swelling, and also helps to keep the rest of me cool.

    • Louise
      January 24, 2015 at 3:54 pm (5 years ago)

      The ice pack sounds divine, especially on a hot day like today!

  3. Melanie Webster
    January 24, 2015 at 8:21 pm (5 years ago)

    Fortunately for me i only started swelling when I hit 40 weeks, so going 10 days over it wasn’t too bad!


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