Here's how you can soothe your swollen ankles and feet during pregnancy

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If you are suffering from swollen ankles and feet, which is normal during pregnancy, try these simple remedies to reduce the discomfort

Pregnancy brings with it several physical challenges, some of which can also make you extremely uncomfortable. One of which is excessively swollen ankles and feet. It is a common problem in expecting mothers due to the extra fluid that they have.

Why do pregnant women have swollen ankles and feet?

Abnormal buildup of fluid in the ankles, feet or legs is called peripheral edema and is quite common among expecting and even new mothers. If you are suffering from swollen ankles and feet, there is little you can do except wait for the swelling to decrease.

There are a couple of other reasons except fluid retention that could be causing this discomfort. These are:

  • Changes in blood chemistry resulting in fluid shifting to the tissue
  • Growing uterus at times puts extra pressure on pelvic veins and vena cava (large vein on the right side of the body that carries blood to the heart from the lower limbs). This pressure slows the return of blood to the heart
  • You may have excess amniotic fluid or you maybe carrying twins causing swollen ankles and feet

This condition usually causing extreme discomfort during the night and even during summer. However, once you deliver the baby, this may reduce. But in the meanwhile you can do a few simple things to keep the swelling under control.

How to treat peripheral edema?

We at theIndusparent spoke to Dr. Dana Elliott Srither, general physician, Tanjong Pagar, Singapore, about how to care for swollen ankles and feet during pregnancy. Take a look at some simple remedies he suggests that you can try to alleviate some of the discomfort.

Swollen ankles and feet

Swollen ankles and feetis a common problem with expecting mothers, but not one that cannot be cured

  • Elevate your feet: Resting your feet up on a stool, box or pile of books when you sit down will help excess fluid drain from your feet and ankles.
  • Don’t cross your legs: Sitting with your legs crossed can make any fluid retention worse so try and remember to sit with your feet flat on the floor or crossed at the ankles instead.
  • Avoid salty foods: Salty foods cause you to hang onto extra water so try and minimise them wherever possible. This includes salt-laden ready meals as well as ‘typically’ salty foods such as salted nuts and crisps.
  • Stretch your legs: If you sit at a desk all day make sure you take regular breaks to walk around and stretch your legs, again giving your circulation a much-needed boost. Periodically pointing and flexing your toes and rotating your ankles will also help to keep blood and fluid moving.
  • Wear support tights: While tight ankle socks can cut into your swollen legs and be hugely uncomfortable, waist high support tights can actually help to reduce uncomfortable swelling so if you’re suffering they’re definitely worth a try.

Some research also suggests that massaging your feet and legs can also bring down the swelling. Also, swelling in the ankles and feet does not mean that you reduce water consumption. In fact, The Institute of Medicine recommends about 10 cups of fluid for expecting mothers per day.

So while you do not have to worry too much about swollen ankles and feet, which is normal during pregnancy; if it gets worse visit a physician immediately.

Read: Goodbye to postnatal fat and depression with yoga

(Image courtesy: Momjunction)

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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