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Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Why do feet swell during pregnancy? What the individual is really experiencing is edema – that is when fluid that is excessive collects in the tissue. It is normal for women who are pregnant to have some amount of swelling due to the retaining of more water, as well as changes in blood chemistry causing fluid to shift into the tissues.

Edema is more often a problem for the duration of the 3rd trimester, especially at the end of the day. It also may be worse during the summer months.

Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Picture : Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Causes for Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

There are a number of reasons that all contribute to ankle and foot swelling while pregnant. First, the body creates and retains more fluid while pregnant. Also, the growing uterus compresses some veins, weakening the returning blood to the heart. Hormonal changes also play a role.

The reason for the fluids in the body to increase while pregnant is in order to nurture both the mother as well as the baby. As the body tissues collect and retain fluids, the woman will normally experience this increase in swelling – especially in the feet and ankles. This is very common and normally goes away soon after delivery.

Although mild ankle and feet swelling is considered normal, any extreme swelling while pregnant should raise a red flag as something to perhaps be concerned about. The woman should contact her physician if she has:

  • Swelling in only one leg
  • Sudden or severe swelling

Sudden or severe swelling can be a signal of a condition that is very serious and is known as preeclampsia. Other symptoms and signs of preeclampsia includes headaches that are severe, blurry vision as well as weight gain that is rapid.

Swelling on only one leg – particularly if accompanied by tenderness or pain in the thigh or calf – could be an indication of a blood clot or other underlying problem. Both conditions deserve rapid evaluation as well as treatment.

Any injury to the ankle or foot can also cause swelling. The more common injury is an ankle that is sprained that occurs when an misstep or injury causes ligaments that hold the ankle properly in place, become stretched further than their normal capacity. When swelling and pain is serious or does not improve with home treatment, the woman should see her physician.

Treatment for Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

The following are some ways to treat swollen ankles or legs that may help. They include:

  • Stay off the feet, avoid standing for long time periods and do not cross the legs. Whenever possible, sit with the feet up and at internals rotate the feet at the ankles. It is even better if the woman can lie down with legs elevated.
  • Sleep on a side. If possible, sleep on the left side. This takes compression off of the main vein that carries blood from the lower portion of the body back to the heart. It will also be beneficial if at the same time, the legs can be slightly elevated.
  • Wear stockings that offer compression. Your physician can recommend what type of stockings and tights to wear and even in some cases, where to find them.
  • Consume lots of fluids. It has been recommended that ten cups or 2.3 liters of fluids need to be consumed each day while pregnant.
  • Have a daily routine that includes some physical activity. This can mean taking walks, riding a stationary bike or swimming laps in a swimming pool.
  • Stand in a pool. There is very little research on the use of the pressure of water on ankle and foot swelling but standing in a pool appears to help by compressing the tissues in the legs and can possibly offer temporary comfort from swelling while pregnant.
  • Keep cool both mentally and physically. It is often soothing to apply cold water compresses to areas that are swollen and it is a great help to try not to worry about much. The house doesn’t need cleaning every day and some nights hubby can fix dinner for you.
  • Additionally, there has been some research that shows foot massages regularly can be a great help. Another method of making the feet feel good is to submerge feet in warm, salt water and then apply some cooling gel to the feet.
  • Another method to treat your feet gently is by having footwear that fits proper and that provide room for swelling in the feet. Shoes should be comfortable and have laces, Velcro or arch supports. Arrange a consultation with a podiatrist about orthotic devices to treat any conditions such as over-pronation, plantar fasciitis, bunions as well as edema.

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