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Swelling in feet and ankles during pregnancy

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

As you near your due date, your feet and ankles might swell up a bit. Swelling in certain parts of the body is a normal part of pregnancy. It often occurs because the body generates extra fluid to help support the growth of the fetus.

Why do pregnant women experience swelling?

There is a lot of pressure on the veins in the lower body with the growing fetus, and the feet and ankles can swell because the uterus expands during pregnancy. This happens mostly during the later stages of pregnancy.

As the baby grows, a lot of pressure starts building up in the pelvic floor and the lower part of the body, especially when you are nearing the due date. Your growing uterus can interrupt blood flow, your lower part of the body is working against gravity and it can get difficult towards the end.

Your hormones make the walls of your veins softer, which makes it harder for them to work properly. Your uterus presses on and slightly block the veins that return blood from your legs to your heart.

Swelling in feet and ankles during pregnancy
Swelling in feet and ankles during pregnancy

How to get relief from the swelling?

  • Reduce sodium intake. Salt can make your body hold on to extra water in your body. Also, avoid processed foods that are high in salt.

  • Caffeine intake has to be reduced. Too much caffeine is anyway not recommended during pregnancy, and it can aggravate the symptoms.

  • Keep yourself hydrated. If your body is dehydrated, it will hold on to fluid trying to compensate.

  • Elevate your feet while sitting, or lying down. Do not stay in the same position for a long time.

  • Walk or exercise. If you are physically active it can help improve your circulation.

  • Get a massage. Massaging before you bathe can help in the circulation of fluids. And also relaxes you.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. Do not wear tight strappy, or tight shoes that can aggravate the swelling.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight can help you in many ways.

When should you call your doctor?

  • A sudden increase in your leg, face, hands, or feet.

  • Problems with your vision, blurring, or flashing lights in your eyes.

  • Severe headache

  • Abdominal pain, especially in the upper right section of your abdomen.

  • Swelling that dramatically worsens could indicate a serious problem.

  • If one leg is more swollen than the other, this could suggest a more serious problem with one of your veins.

Note: though swelling of ankles and feet is common during pregnancy if you observe any changes in your body, you have to inform your doctor and make sure there is no other medication involved.



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