Swelling Of Feet During Pregnancy

Are you noticing some sort of swelling in your feet during pregnancy? Well, there’s no need to stress as pregnancy causes rapid changes in your body. Amongst which, leg swelling during pregnancy is one of those changes or symptoms which are considered to be normal yet uncomfortable. Usually, there's nothing much to worry about. But in some cases, rapid swelling of your hands or face may be a sign of something serious, like preeclampsia, a blood pressure disorder.

To learn more about what can cause swollen feet during pregnancy, and what remedies you can try to reduce some of the swelling, keep on reading.

What Causes Swelling In Feet During Pregnancy

As early as your fifth month of pregnancy, you may notice that your feet begin to increase in size. This might even continue until late in your pregnancy.

As your uterus grows it can put extra pressure on the blood vessels that carry blood from the lower part of your body back to your heart. This results in fluid retention, causing your swollen legs, ankles, and feet during your pregnancy. The medical term for swelling caused by fluid retention is oedema.

Hormones can also play a role in feet growing in size. The hormone relaxin, which is responsible for loosening the pelvic joints to make delivery possible, also loosens the ligaments of your feet. This results in the bones of your feet spreading, which is just another symptom you might experience along with pregnancy aches and pains.

Pregnancy-related weight gain can also result in your feet increasing in size.

Signs of Oedema in Pregnancy

Here’s how to recognize oedema — the kind of swelling caused by fluid retention:

  • You have swelling under your skin, especially in your legs or arms

  • Your skin looks shiny or stretched

  • If you press on your skin for several minutes, it retains a dimple or pit.

  • If your abdomen feels bloated

When to See Your Doctor

If you notice any swelling or any of the symptoms listed above, see your doctor, who will assess what might be causing the swelling. In some cases, your doctor 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 doctor as soon as possible. These might be signs of pulmonary oedema (excess fluid in the lungs due to heart problems), which needs to be treated immediately.

If your hands or face swell suddenly during your pregnancy, notify your doctor immediately. Swelling in the hands or face could be one of the signs of preeclampsia, a blood pressure disorder.

How to Reduce Swelling in Your Feet During Pregnancy

Your doctor is the best person to turn to for expert advice. Here are some preventive strategies and home remedies your doctor might suggest if you’re experiencing moderately swollen legs, ankles, and feet during your pregnancy:

  • Reduce the load:

Avoid standing for long periods of time, if possible.

  • Stay hydrated:

Drink plenty of liquids.

  • Limit sodium:

Reduce your intake of high-sodium foods or avoid them altogether.

  • Limit caffeine:

Although it’s OK to consume a little caffeine while pregnant, caffeine tends to cause fluid retention. Experts recommend limiting your caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams a day (about a 12-ounce cup of coffee). Read more about the foods and beverages it might be best to limit or avoid while pregnant.

  • Eat more protein:

A low protein diet can increase fluid retention by eating more protien.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes:

Tight and restrictive clothing can decrease circulation and increase fluid retention.

  • Cool off your legs:

Soak your feet in cool water, or put an ice pack on swollen areas.

  • Elevate your legs:

When you’re sitting or lying down, elevate your legs on a pillow or footrest. Avoid crossing your legs.

  • Wear support stockings:

Consider wearing a support hose, compression socks or stockings. Stay away from socks or stockings that have tight elastic at the top.

  • Buy new shoes:

Consider wearing wider, more supportive shoes to help accommodate your swollen feet during your pregnancy.

  • Be active:

Low-impact activity can help reduce fluid retention. Check with your doctor first before starting a new exercise routine when pregnant.

  • Lie on your side:

While resting or sleeping, lie on your side. This will take pressure off the vein that moves blood from your lower body back to your heart.

  • Protect your legs and feet:

Keep your skin clean and moisturized. Dry and cracked skin can easily get scrapes or cuts, opening you to the possibility of infection.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    • Don’t stand for long periods of time

    • Put your feet up

    • Wear comfortable shoes

    • Drink more liquids

    • Limit your intake of sodium and caffeine.

  • A moderate amount of swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet during pregnancy can be normal, but if you start experiencing swelling in your hands or face, contact your doctor immediately. It could be a sign of a blood pressure disorder called preeclampsia.

  • Physical activity and low-impact exercise like walking can definitely help reduce swelling in your feet during pregnancy. Check with your doctor first before diving into any new exercises.

Mild swelling in your legs, feet and ankles is considered to be a common symptom of pregnancy. That being said, it’s always best to consult with your doctor and get your doubts cleared. In the meantime, you can try some of the tips we’ve listed to reduce your swelling and get rid of the discomfort caused by it.

We understand that swollen feet can make things a little too uncomfortable for you. But keep in mind, that once childbirth is completed, your feet will go back to being normal. Hang in there! This little discomfort will be worth it.

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