Swollen Feet While Pregnant

image001Pregnancy has different effects on a woman’s body and one of the most common problems is having swollen feet. During pregnancy, there are numbers of reasons and factors that contribute to the swelling of your ankle or foot. Your growing uterus puts pressure on your veins which results in your blood to return to your heart. Plus, your body produces and keeps more fluid during pregnancy which results in certain areas on your feet to swell, or if you have the tendency to gain fat quickly it can be a reason for your feet to gain some fat too. But just like the rest of the ligaments inside your body, the hormone Relaxin allows the bones in your feet to loosen or spread out which makes you unable to fit in your old sandals.

Swollen feet while pregnant is a common effect but not to worry- it goes away after delivery. But for the moment, these swellings could be helped by some pregnancy health tips.

How to Deal with Swollen Feet While Pregnant

1. Do Light Exercise

Swollen feet, or Edema as we call it, can’t be minimized when you let yourself enjoy the company of chairs too much or let’s say when you’ve been sitting there for more than an hour or two. Stand up and have a little walk to keep your body moving and your blood circulating. Another good alternative is water aerobics, an aerobic exercise performed in shallow water such as a swimming pool which entails doing yoga stretches as you dip in cool water can provide relief. Performing this can increase your heart rate while you immersed in cool water and can reduce swelling.

2. Wear Properly

Consider wearing comforting and accommodating footwear, which can help relieve swollen feet while pregnancy. Choose shoes with elasticity that will help stretched your feet. Avoid wearing formal shoes like high heels and instead, wear running shoes or sneakers that are not so tight and place insoles in them. If you think tight socks can squeeze your feet and lessen the swelling, then no. In fact, tight pressure on the swollen parts of your feet can worsen the swelling. Over the counter high-waist maternity stockings can be used for extra support.

3. Mind Your Diet

  • Add a healthy weight during pregnancy that consists of small amounts of lean protein in meat, poultry, eggs and beans.
  • Add some healthy fruits in your diet every day and reduce your intake of salt, fat and sugar. 
  • Help your kidney maintain good function by foods like celery, apples and citrus fruits and improve your blood circulation with some onions and garlic.
  • Avoid processed foods during pregnancy as much as possible as they contain a high quantity of sodium and some other additives, and also lessen your intake of caffeine, tea and cola.
  • Choose foods that are naturally rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Potassium.
  • Most importantly, drink eight to twelve glasses of water every day (or even more) as water intake during pregnancy plays a great role in you and your baby’s health.

4. Rest and Maintain Proper Posture

After a little exercise from walking, be at comfort by sitting, as you put your feet above your hips by resting them in a stool, it makes your legs relax. Your blood flow restricts when you cross your legs frequently, try a normal sitting position and avoid cross-legging for a while. When standing, move about from one leg to the other as it increases blood flow.

5. Enjoy a Soothing Massage

Ask your partner or a friend to massage your feet and legs by using two hands soaked with a bit of base oil, such as grapeseed, and work it up from your feet to your knees. Aromatherapy oil essentials is to be reduced, but can be added to a bowl of water and soak your feet in it. Oils that are good for circulation and relaxation are Lavender, Chamomile, and Cypress oil.

6. Apply Cold Compress

Place a cold compress on the swollen leg or ankle to relieve your discomfort. Do this for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce throbbing and pain. To deal with swollen feet while pregnant, you can also try some cabbage leaves placed on the swollen area in drawing out excess fluid and pain. Cabbage leaves can be wiped, not washed, and can be cooled in normal cooling temperature then wrap the leaves surrounding the swollen parts to make a compress. Leave until wet and repeat if necessary.

7. Wear Compression Stockings

Choose the ones that are tight at the ankle area but not for the tummy and are comfortable for you. These compression or support stockings are designed on keeping blood circulation and provides support for your legs as a gradient support in reducing pain and swelling. These stockings can be effective in reducing edema. Some compression stockings are knee-high, pantyhose and some do not cover the toes. Wear them in the morning before the daily swelling begins.

8. Sleep on Your Left Side

Sleep on your left side as this action takes pressure off the large vein (inferior vena cava) that returns blood to its normal way from your lower body to your heart. Try elevating your legs slightly with some pillows.

9. Stay Out of the Heat of the Sun

A shady location in a sunny place would be better as heat worsens edema. Always consider staying in a cool and refreshing location.

Watch the following video to learn about more tips to help decease swollen feet during pregnancy, including what to eat, what positions to take and what to wear:

When to Be Concerned

Swollen feet while pregnant or swelling in other parts during pregnancy is normal. But normal is different from severe. If you feel that the swelling in your foot or ankle isn’t normal anymore, or if it’s only swelling in one leg, this could already be a symptom of preeclampsia. Other signs for this are:

  • Blurred eye-sight
  • Severe weight gain
  • Throbbing headaches

If these symptoms starts to occur, contact you family doctor and pay attention on what’s going on with your body as these swelling might need serious treatments.