What are the causes and what can you do?
While there are so many joys that the nine months waiting for your baby brings, swollen feet is probably not on the top of your list. Having swollen feet or ankles during pregnancy is a fairly common occurrence, and with a bit of information, you may be able to lessen the annoyance. So, let’s dive into why you get swollen feet during pregnancy, why you get swollen feet after delivery, and how to cope.
What causes swollen feet during pregnancy?
Did you know that to prepare your body for labor and to support your baby, your blood volume increases by 50 percent by the end of your third trimester? This, combined with rising hormone levels will cause some women to begin noticing swollen feet around the four or five-month mark, though many women won’t experience the joy until their third trimester.
The swelling of fingers, feet, and ankles is known as edema and is completely normal. While it may be uncomfortable, it is preparing your body to expand during labor and will decrease in the days following.
Call a doctor if:
While swollen ankles and feet are common pregnancy symptoms, as with any new symptom you should feel free to speak with your birth professional if it is concerning to you. You should also notify your midwife or doctor if:
- The swelling comes on quickly
- There is severe swelling of the face as well
- You have headaches associated with swelling
- You feel dizzy, lightheaded, or disoriented
- There is redness associated with the swelling
- You experience pain or burning in the swollen feet
So, how do you cope?
- As with the rest of your pregnancy, your water consumption should be increased. The American Pregnancy Association recommends getting in 8-12 glasses a day during your pregnancy.
- Swollen feet and ankles will become worse in warm climates. If you live in such an area, do whatever you can to stay cool.
- Potassium-rich foods help with fluid retention and many of them are high in other nutrients that you need right now. Yummy options include pistachios, sweet potatoes, and salmon.
- Trade the jeggings for compression socks. To promote circulation, avoid clothing that is tight-fitting in the leg, ankle, and foot area. Swap snug pants for waist-high compression socks worn under comfortable clothing. Compression socks worn during pregnancy are advised for aiding circulation and comfort.
- Go shoe shopping! Save the stilettos for the post-pregnancy strut and get some comfortable, loose-fitting shoes instead.
- Walk it out. Walking during pregnancy helps circulation, helps you stay active, and helps with mental wellness. A few short walks a day may do you wonders.
- Foot massage, anyone?
What about swollen feet after delivery?
Experiencing swollen feet or ankles after delivery is just as common as during pregnancy and is due to the retained water that your body built up during pregnancy hanging around. The same remedies used for swelling during pregnancy can assist after delivery.