A lot of women during pregnancy experience mild swelling throughout their body especially in their feet and ankles. The amount of swelling you may experience will vary as swelling could increase in the evening or increase in warmer weather.
Edema can start around the 22 -27 weeks in your pregnancy journey and you may experience it till up to the time you are ready to give birth.
So what causes it?
Well it occurs when your fluids increase to nurture you and your baby it builds up in your tissues as a result of increased blood flow and pressure of your growing uterus on your pelvic veins and in your Vena Cava which is the main vein on the right side of your body that returns blood from your lower limbs to your heart. This is what causes you to experience swelling. Gravity also plays a part in this too.
Now mild swelling of the ankles and feet caused by Edema is harmless and perfectly normal and monthly prenatal massage can help you rid of toxins and the fluid build-up. However, if your hands, face, ankles and feet become really puffy or if the swelling persists longer than a day at a time please consult your Doctor.
Swelling of the legs in pregnancy could also be a sign of Deep Vein Thrombosis which is rare. It occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. Swelling from DVT only occurs in one leg usually the left leg and might cause a feeling of heaviness or pain and gets worse when you stand up. Other signs include when you skin is red or warm when you touch it. If you notice any of those signs, call your Doctor right away.
Excessive swelling can be a sign of Preeclampsia if it’s accompanied by a variety of symptoms such as very high blood pressure, rapid weight gain, severe headaches, blurred vision, upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, decreased urine output and protein in the urine. If your blood pressure and urine are normal when you go for your normal prenatal visit, then there’s nothing to worry about.
So how do you stop your feet and ankles from swelling whilst pregnant?
👣Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. If you find yourself on your feet a lot, just take 5 minutes out of every hour to sit down and do the opposite if you find yourself sitting down get up and walk around for 5mins.
👣If possible elevate your legs when you sit down
👣Sleep on your left side if not doing this already as doing this helps your kidneys eliminate waste and reduces swelling.
👣As we all know walking and any type of exercise great benefits as it helps keep the blood flowing. If possible try swimming if your Doctor gives you the go ahead and when it’s safe to. The pressure from the water pushes the fluids from the tissues to your veins and it travels to your kidneys so you’ll urinate the extra fluid out.
👣Avoid too tight elastic socks or stockings as your blood and fluids need to flow as free as possible.
👣Sexy stilettoes and sling backs are out comfy shoes are in you can buy specialised shoes or buy inserts that will help reduce leg and back pain. When you get home you can switch to comfy pair of soft slippers
👣 Try a support Panty Hose with extra tummy room or knee high or thigh high ones but whichever you choose put them on in the morning before the daily swelling starts
👣Drink more water especially if the weather is warm try to drink 8-10 glasses a day. It may sound weird drinking water to rid of fluid in the tissues but water is life giving and cleansing and will reduce toxins especially if you are eating too much salt. We all need salt but like everything else consume it in moderation.
There’s another reason why your shoes might feel a bit snug. Like the rest of your ligaments in your body, the ones in your feet are loosening due to the hormone Relaxin which is released from the placenta preparing your body for labour. It allows the bones to spread out. If you decide to stick to your old shoes, your feet will feel pinched.
After a few months, the swelling will recede and the extra weight will usually fall away but although your joints and ligaments will tighten back up, your feet may remain prominently larger up to a full shoe size.
Not only Pregnant Mums suffer with Edema, anyone can suffer with it. Follow the guidelines on how to manage mild Edema.
If it persists for more than a day at a time, please consult your GP.