Why do feet swell in pregnancy?

Feet swell in pregnancy

During pregnancy the feeling of swelling in the ankles and feet is as common as it is inevitable and its symptoms are evident.

The impression of weight on the legs, discomfort when walking, discomfort when wearing some shoes and slight swelling in other areas of the body, are some of the most frequent manifestations that indicate that we are suffering from edema.

feet swell in pregnancy
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The sensation of swollen feet in pregnancy, also known as edemas, are more frequent at the end of the day, during hot periods or after sitting or standing for a long time, and usually worsen in the last weeks of pregnancy due to the pressure exerted by the baby in the pelvic region.

Why do feet swell during pregnancy? In pregnant women, the swelling occurs especially in the lower parts of the body, such as the legs, ankles or feet, and is caused by an excessive accumulation of fluid in the tissues, very characteristic during this period.

Most of the time the swelling in the feet only represents an additional discomfort, but you can still follow certain measures to minimize its effects and prevent them.

Why do feet swell in pregnancy?

Swollen feet in pregnancy are a very common problem that arises for different reasons.

Most women who suffer from it are healthy, but when they are expecting a baby, they experience this sensation because there is a greater flow of blood in their body, which can cause blockage of some veins, in addition to the fluid retention so common of this period is also one of its main causes. Let’s look at 5 reasons why feet swell during pregnancy:

  • Fluid retention: Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet in pregnancy occurs when too much fluid builds up in the tissues. During pregnancy, more body water is produced due to the effect of hormones in our body, which stimulate fluid and sodium retention by the kidney.
  • Increased blood flow: Because of the body’s water, the blood becomes more resistant and this results in increased pressure, which can cause a sort of blockage in the veins of the ankles and feet.
  • Pressure from the uterus: As your pregnancy progresses and your belly increases in size, the baby will put more pressure on the blood vessels that carry blood from the lower extremities to the heart.
  • This tension causes the blood returning from your legs to your heart to circulate slower than normal, and this causes the fluid in your veins to be retained, causing swelling in your legs and feet.
  • Weight gain: Excessive weight gain in pregnancy can also favor the feeling of swollen feet.
  • Postures: Standing for a long time or without moving your legs during the day, as well as excessive salt intake and low potassium levels, contribute to the appearance of this uncomfortable sensation.
  • The high temperatures

After delivery, the swelling in your legs and feet will go away as your body removes the fluid retention.

In women with multiple pregnancies or with excess amniotic fluid, the uterus tends to gain more weight, which can surely alter blood circulation. For this reason, it is considered a more frequent and severe discomfort in these particular cases.

Can swelling during pregnancy become a major problem?

Having some degree of swelling in the legs and feet during pregnancy is quite normal. We are retaining more fluids our circulation changes.

However, you should be more vigilant if you have swelling in your face and around your eyes and pronounced swelling in your hands and feet with exaggeration, as this may indicate that you have a problem that requires more attention and care such as preeclampsia.

In these cases, it is important that you consult your doctor and receive immediate attention. There are also cases in which the swelling persists even after the baby is born.

This happens because the blood that the mother shared with the placenta returns to her, and the swelling leaves some traces in the body, such as the increased incidence of varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

But there’s nothing to worry about, with a balanced diet and breastfeeding the discomfort of the swelling that might remain in your body will diminish until it disappears.

If the only symptom is swelling of the feet, don’t worry! it’s one of the most common discomforts in pregnancy.

Can the feeling of swollen feet be prevented in pregnancy?

The feeling of swollen feet in pregnancy means much more than not being able to wear our favorite shoes, their appearance also causes some discomfort and discomfort.

For this reason, we bring you a series of recommendations that will help you to prevent its appearance and diminish its effects, Take note!

Take care and pay attention to your diet

Try to take care of your diet and eat a balanced diet that helps you stay healthy and maintain a weight gain within the proper limits.

In order to eliminate the retention of liquids, the diet is fundamental, so we recommend you to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables that contain a high percentage of water and that in turn have diuretic properties since they will favour the stimulation of the kidney.

Reducing the amount of salt in your meals is also important, so if you want to season your meals the most advisable is to do it with garlic or lemon because they are more beneficial to the body.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of water will always be one of the most frequent and important recommendations, as well as keeping you hydrated will help you eliminate toxins and waste you no longer need in your body. Try to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day to control fluid retention and reduce the feeling of swelling in your feet.

Even if it’s incredible, drinking more water will cause your body to retain less fluid.

Exercises to keep you active

Activating circulation is key to reducing swelling in legs and feet. To achieve this, you must avoid sedentary life and practice some physical activity that keeps you fit and moving.

One of the most recommended practices by specialists are aquatic exercises such as swimming or hydrogymnastics, as staying in the water will help to alleviate the sensation of swollen feet and promote circulation.

But if you are not a water lover, it is also very beneficial to walk every day or practice other exercises suitable for pregnancy such as the pedal on an exercise bike, yoga, Pilates that will help stretch all parts of the body.

Avoid staying in the same posture for a long time

Remember that during pregnancy it is not recommended to be in the same position for too long, whether you are standing or sitting, so try to make small pauses every hour, and exchange postures for example, sit if you have been standing for a long time or take short walks if you have been sitting.

One thing you should always avoid when sitting is crossing your legs, as this position only makes it more difficult for blood to circulate in your body.

Staying active and stretching your body during pregnancy is essential to relieve the swelling of tired feet and legs.

Prevents high temperatures

High temperatures are one of the factors that most contribute to legs and feet swelling in pregnancy, so avoid being exposed to the sun and walking in the hottest days for a long time and try to stay as cool and comfortable as possible.

Wear comfortable footwear

One of the most important things you can do to reduce the discomfort of swollen feet is to wear appropriate footwear that is comfortable and wide enough so that your feet don’t feel too oppressed.

In addition to making walking easier, wearing comfortable footwear can help reduce your chances of suffering other muscle injuries, as both muscles and ligaments become softer and weaker during pregnancy. Poor footwear is often the main reason why feet swell in pregnancy.

What can I do to relieve and lessen the effects of foot swelling?

The discomfort caused by swelling of the pregnant woman’s feet cannot be avoided 100%, but can be relieved with a few tricks.

Lie on your side

Lying on your side is the most recommended position to sleep well during pregnancy, but in addition to ensuring a good rest, this posture will help alleviate the increased pressure to which the veins are subjected.

Since the vena cava is located on the right side of our body, it is advisable to lie more on the left side, although either side works.

Sleep and rest on the left side and you will get multiple benefits.

Elevate your feet regularly

In the task of relieving swelling in legs and feet, keeping them slightly elevated while lying down or resting will help reduce swelling quickly, as it will be favoring the circulation of blood in your legs.

You can use a foot rest or a cushion to support them and keep them high while you are sitting or lying down. Ideally, you should stretch your legs frequently and alternate the position of your feet.

Move your feet and stretch them every day

Stretch your legs and feet frequently, make circular movements with your ankles and move your toes, you can also stretch your legs by placing them forward and flexing your feet and toes towards the direction of your leg to help decrease fluid retention.

Hot and cold water baths

Bathing with hot or cold water is one of the most relaxing ways to take care of your feet and alleviate the uncomfortable sensation caused by swelling.

It is recommended to do them at the end of the day when tiredness accumulates. If you prefer them with hot water, you can add a little salt and wait for 10 minutes.

If on the contrary you want to do it with cold water, add a little ice because the water must be as cold as you can hold.

Soak your feet and wait about 10 minutes, this will lower inflation and activate circulation at the same time. This is an excellent trick to activate circulation and prevent swelling of the feet.

Take care of your feet and soak them in water regularly.

Massages in circular movements

Foot care includes daily moisturizing with a moisturizing cream and small circular massages to release accumulated tension in your legs and feet. If you can’t do them on your own, ask your partner to help you as you both get ready for bed. Your tired, swollen feet will thank you!

Remember that although the swelling in legs and feet give you an uncomfortable sensation, these can be relieved with these small recommendations. Once your baby is born, the edema will disappear quite quickly and as soon as your body returns to its normal state and eliminates the excess fluid.

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