Why feet swell during pregnancy (and how to treat it)

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Pregnancy is a wonderful, crucial chapter of our life. Conceiving a child gives the mother the responsibility of keeping her baby healthy. At the same time, it is essential to take care of herself.

On the other hand, a mother undergoes a series of physical and emotional changes as the child grows in her womb. Changes happen to her breasts, body weight, abdomen, and skin, to name a few. Some women find this uncomfortable, but know that these are common situations that every pregnant woman goes through.

During pregnancy, the swelling of the feet and ankles is bound to happen, and this occurrence is called edema. Gradual swelling does not cause harm to the mother and her baby; however, bearing it may be uncomfortable and sometimes, it can be painful or may hinder you from performing your usual task.

Why feet swell during pregnancy
Why feet swell during pregnancy

Most women experience this during the final months of their pregnancy and it can happen more often by then. It is caused by the retention of fluid in the body wherein water is more than the normal volume.

Another factor is the pressure on the pelvic veins and vena cava due to a developing uterus. It slows down blood circulation in the legs. Thus, constraining the fluids in the tissues of the woman’s feet. Hormonal change can also be a reason behind the swelling.

Sudden swelling of the face, hand and/or feet accompanied by pain is another pregnancy condition. This is called pre-eclampsia, a type of high blood pressure in pregnant women, and it should be taken seriously. Call the doctor immediately if this happens. To be sure, be wary of the following symptoms: vomiting, vision changes, severe headache, difficulty in breathing, and pain on the abdomen.

Listed below are ways to relieve or treat swollen feet and ankles in pregnant women. Practicing these will be of great help, and will certainly provide comfort.

  1. Refrain from standing for a prolonged period of time. Due to gravity, blood and fluids tend to settle down in the body’s lower parts. This is most likely to happen when one stands for hours. Instead of standing, putting your feet up as much as possible is recommended.
  2. Do foot exercises. Aside from being able to control the swelling, foot exercises will improve blood circulation and prevent cramps from happening. This can be done while either standing or sitting. It involves bending, stretching and rotating one foot, and then the other.
  3. Foot massage is an excellent therapy. Having a gentle foot massage does not only regulate the blood circulation but it can also relieve stress and provide relaxation which in turn is good for the baby. However, be sure to consult your doctor first before engaging in this activity. This is for the reason that to some patients, reflexology is contraindicated.
  4. Lessen the amount of salt intake. In order to reduce swelling, avoid eating salty foods. Limit salt consumption to less than two grams per day. Salt is responsible for holding in the fluid in the body.
  5. Consume healthy food. Of course, in order to stay healthy it is of utmost importance to have a balanced diet. Keep in mind that a healthy mom is equal to a healthy baby. Maintaining this will help you reach a healthy weight which may significantly affect the frequent swelling.
  6. Drink plenty of water. Keeping oneself hydrated throughout the day is important. Dehydration will most likely cause the body to retain more water. A pregnant woman is recommended to drink 2.3 liters of fluids per day. It is measured at about 10 cups.
  7. Soaking your feet in a basin with warm water and adding drops of Cypress oil can help. Cypress oil allows good circulation which is what a swollen feet needs. Being able to smell lavender and chamomile oil will help you reach your relaxed state and avoid the discomfort swelling can bring.
  8. Herbal Remedy. Drinking herbal remedies should be moderated, especially if pregnant. However, drinking Dandelion tea will help the body in preventing fluid retention.
  9. Stay cool and fresh. The swelling usually happens during summer when the temperature is definitely high. Instead of just cooling in the swimming pool, it is suggested that a pregnant woman to take up water aerobics class. It can reduce the swelling if one is submerged in the pool up to her shoulders as she does exercise.
  10. Sleep on your left side. The inferior vena cava is responsible for carrying the blood from the lower part of the body. Sleeping on your left side will reduce or remove the pressure on it. In effect, swelling is lessened or prevented. It is also possible to lift your legs slightly with the help of pillows as you sleep.

 

You can ask your doctor for more tips on how to ease your swollen feet or ankle if the mentioned ones are not applicable in your situation or if you are hesitant on doing those. Don’t be afraid if the changes in your body are seemingly alien to you. Swollen parts of the body may badly contribute to your self-esteem or it will make you more self-conscious, but always remember that having edema is not permanent but a temporary pregnancy condition. It will disappear as soon as you give birth to your child. And the same goes to your body going back to normal.

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