For all of the joy that motherhood can bring, pregnancy isn’t a terribly joyful experience for many women. Physical and emotional changes, weight gain and scrambled hormones, and adapting to a body that doesn’t feel or move like it used to can be challenging and humbling. This includes dealing with swollen, uncomfortable, or painful feet and ankles.
Edema Effects Three-Quarters of Expectant Mothers
Expectant mothers carry a lot more weight – and carry it differently – than they did before their pregnancy. In addition to their baby’s extra pounds, pregnant women also produce an increased amount of blood and body fluids – about 50% more than women who aren’t pregnant. These fluids need to go somewhere, and when they do, they can cause noticeable and painful swelling. This condition, called edema, affects about three-quarters of pregnant women.
While edema can happen throughout the body, the feet and ankles of expectant moms often bear the brunt of such swelling simply due to gravity.
Edema in the feet and ankles tends to become a problem between the 22nd and 27th week of pregnancy. In addition to increased fluid production, the following can also cause or exacerbate edema:
- Warm or hot temperatures
- Standing for extended periods
- A lack of potassium
- High sodium intake
- High levels of caffeine
Tips for Reducing Swelling in the Feet and Ankles During Pregnancy
If edema is an unwanted part of your pregnancy, you can take some simple precautions and affirmative steps to keep the ankle and foot swelling to a minimum.
Here are some tips to keep swelling at bay:
- Avoid standing for extended periods and take frequent breaks if you need to be on your feet a lot during the day
- Keep time outdoors to a minimum on hot days
- Keep your feet elevated when resting or lying down
- Comfort is king when it comes to your shoes
- Avoid clothing that is tight around the ankles
- Apply a cold compress to swollen areas of your feet or ankles
- Eat more potassium; bananas, in particular, are rich in it
- Minimize caffeine consumption
JAWSpodiatry: Your Hollywood, Florida Foot and Ankle Specialists
The experienced and skilled podiatrists at JAWSpodiatry in Hollywood, Florida are a growing team of exceptional medical professionals who offer the highest degree of care in a welcoming, comfortable environment. If you are experiencing pregnancy-related foot or ankle issues, please contact us today at (954) 922-7333 to schedule a consultation.