Pregnancy Swollen Feet and Ankles

What makes my feet and ankles swell during pregnancy?

If your feet and ankles swell during your pregnancy, it is probably because your body retains more fluid than usual during pregnancy. Changes in your hormones can also contribute to swollen feet and ankles. Weight increase can also put stress on your veins which make the blood flow to your heart slower and that can also be a cause of swelling.

Even though fluid retention can cause swollen feet and ankles, you need to stay hydrated. Most OB/GYNs agree that you need 10 cups of liquid daily.

Is there anything that I can do to ease the swelling?

You may want to try some or all of the following:

  • Daily physical activity: walk, ride a bike, swim. Of course, check with your OB/GYN before starting any activity.
  • Compression hose: Wearing supportive stockings during the day may help.
  • Avoid standing for long periods: When possible, sit with your feet up or elevated. Rotate your ankles periodically.
  • Sleep on your side: Sleeping on your left side and elevate your legs with pillows may help. This will take the pressure off of the large vein that returns blood from the lower half of your body to your heart.
  • Pooltime: The cool water of a pool may help with temporary relief of swelling feet and ankles.
  • Cold compresses might also help. Apply cold compresses or even ice packs to the swollen areas.
  • Foot massage: Foot massages may also help lessen the swelling of feet and ankles during pregnancy.
  • No high heels! Be good to your feet and wear comfortable, well supported flat or low-heeled shoes during pregnancy.

When should I be concerned about swelling feet and ankles?

While some mild swelling of the feet and ankles is normal during pregnancy, you should be aware and contact your OB/GYN immediately if:

  • You have sudden painful swelling, and especially if it is only on one ankle or foot.
  • You have sudden or extreme painful swelling in both ankles and feet.

If you have this kind of swelling occur, it could be the symptom of a blood clot or a sign of preeclampsia, so get treatment immediately.

For the most part, however, mild swelling or your feet and ankles are just part of being pregnant.