The last place you might expect to swell up is the one place that can really come in the way of everyday activities – your feet.
Swollen ankles and feet (aka Oedema) happen in pregnancy because your body is retaining more water than usual and there is an increased strain on your blood vessels. By the end of the day, the extra water tends to gather in the lowest part of your body. You will notice more swelling if the weather is warmer of if you’ve been on your feet for most of the day. Oedema is quite common in pregnancy with a range of 50-80% of healthy pregnant women experiencing swelling.
This type of gradual swelling is not harmful to you or the baby – but it can be very uncomfortable. Note: if you experience a sudden swelling in your face, hands or feet, call your doctor. This may be a sign of pre-eclampsia – which is less common, but can be serious for you and the baby.
Here are some ways to avoid and ease your swollen ankles and feet:
Put your feet up and relax. In fact, make sure you rest an hour every day with your feet propped up higher than your heart.
Avoid standing for long periods of time and take regular breaks.
Wear comfortable shoes. Not everyone is willing to sacrifice fashion for comfort – of course, Kim Kardashian did still manage to squeeze her foot into designer heels. You don’t have to be a slave to fashion during your pregnancy – and even if you are, there are plenty of flat, chic options. Always think ahead – that strappy pair of sandals may feel alright first thing in the morning, but they be too constraining in few hours time.
Try support tights to maintain circulation. You can always speak to your doctor for advice on these or recommended compression stockings.
If your feet are not too sensitive, ask someone to massage your ankles and feet. Using upward strokes toward your knees.
Exercise is always great – swimming was a popular tip from some women who experienced oedema during pregnancy.
Try these foot exercises (that can be done sitting or standing) to improve blood circulations, reduce swelling and prevent calf muscle cramps. Bend and stretch your foot up and down 30 times. Rotate your feet in a circle 8 times each way. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!