Is foot swelling during pregnancy serious?
While a new baby is an extraordinarily beautiful thing for a woman, it can of course also cause some symptoms, one of which is swollen feet during pregnancy . Because your whole body changes during pregnancy. We’ve discussed in detail why your feet can swell during pregnancy, when you might notice it, when to see a doctor, some simple treatments that can help, and most importantly, why you should buy new shoes.
What causes foot swelling during pregnancy?
Foot swelling is often a symptom that occurs later in a woman’s pregnancy. Therefore, you may not see it in the early stages of your pregnancy. When you find out later, it’s nothing to worry about.
Causes in the first trimester
The rapidly increasing levels of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy slow down digestion. This can cause bloating long before there is any noticeable tummy growth due to the baby. You may notice some swelling in your hands, feet, fingers, or face, but this is usually not much. If you notice a lot of foot swelling this early in pregnancy, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, headache ( pregnancy headache ), or bleeding, it’s best to see your doctor.
Symptoms in the second trimester
The second trimester begins with the 13th week of pregnancy (the beginning of the fourth month). It is not unusual for you to start noticing swelling of your feet in the fifth month of pregnancy. Especially if you stand up a lot during this period or if the weather is hot, you may experience a headache during pregnancy. This swelling is due to the increased volume of blood and fluid in your body. With the increased volume of blood and fluid, your body may retain fluid, which can lead to foot swelling during pregnancy. While your rings and shoes may be uncomfortable now, all that extra fluid helps soften your body and prepare it for childbirth, and it’s necessary. Rest assured, the excess fluid will decrease rapidly in the days and weeks after your baby is born.
Symptoms in the third trimester
Starting at week 28 of pregnancy, the third trimester is the most common time to experience swelling in the feet. Especially as the weeks go by and you approach week 40, your toes are likely to look like little sausages and you’re likely to experience pregnancy foot swelling. Your body continues to build up its blood and fluid supply, which can contribute to swelling. Your uterus also gets heavier as your baby grows, which can slow blood flow from the legs to the heart. (Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous, it’s just annoying.)
Other factors that can contribute to foot swelling during pregnancy include:
- Hot weather
- Nutrition habits
- caffeine intake
- not drinking enough water
- standing for long periods
When to see a doctor for foot swelling during pregnancy?
Although many expectant mothers worry about it, foot swelling during pregnancy is a very normal part of this process. So oftentimes, foot swelling during pregnancy is another sign of all the hard work your body has been doing to raise the baby. However, foot swelling can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem. One of these problems is called preeclampsia . This is a condition that can develop during pregnancy, causing dangerously high blood pressure .
You should contact your doctor if you notice the following:
- Sudden swelling of your hands, feet, face, or around your eyes
- Swelling that worsens dramatically
- dizziness or blurred vision
- severe headache
- Confusion, confusion
- Difficulty in breathing ( shortness of breath during pregnancy )
If you only notice swelling in one leg with pain, redness, or heat, it could mean you have deep vein thrombosis, or DVT for short. DVT is a blood clot usually found in your leg. It’s important to see your doctor if you notice these symptoms, because pregnant women are more likely to experience blood clots than the average person.
If you are unsure whether foot swelling is normal during pregnancy or if you have any concerns, it will be reassuring to talk to your doctor. They will be happy to help keep you and your baby safe and healthy.
How is foot swelling treated during pregnancy?
While foot swelling during pregnancy may or may not be painful, it can definitely be uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to ease your symptoms during pregnancy, and they’re really simple.
1- Reduce your sodium intake
One way to reduce swelling during pregnancy is to limit your sodium (or salt) intake. Salt keeps extra water in your body. Try to avoid canned or processed foods, as these are particularly high in sodium. Also, try not to add extra salt to your food. Using savory herbs like rosemary and thyme is an easy way to add flavor to your recipes without using salt.
2- Increase your potassium intake
Not getting enough potassium can make swelling worse as it helps your body balance the amount of fluid it retains. Your prenatal vitamin needs to contain extra potassium for you, but it’s also important to eat things that contain potassium at meals.
Some foods that are naturally high in potassium include:
- Natural juices (especially plum, pomegranate, orange, carrot)
3- Reduce your caffeine intake
While the occasional caffeine isn’t harmful during pregnancy, drinking too much caffeine isn’t necessarily great for the baby. It can also make foot swelling worse during pregnancy. Caffeine is a diuretic and causes you to urinate more. This sends a signal for extra fluid to build up in your body. Instead, try decaf with milk or herbal tea like mint to help give you some energy boost.
4. Drink more water
As strange as it may sound, drinking more water to prevent swelling of the feet during pregnancy actually works. If your body thinks you’re dehydrated, it will retain even more fluids to try to make up for it. So, try to drink at least 10 glasses of water every day to keep your kidneys flushing out the bad stuff and keeping your body happily hydrated. If drinking that much water sounds daunting, try using a cute cup you’ll want to refill, or a water bottle that you only need to refill a few times a day. You can also flavor your water with lemon, mint or strawberry to make it more enjoyable.
5- Elevate your feet and rest
Even though you have a million things to do before the baby arrives, try to sit up and put your feet up if possible. While sitting all the time isn’t great for your circulation, standing all the time is also hard on your gorgeous pregnant body. Sitting with your feet elevated for a while can help drain the fluid that accumulates in your legs during the day, especially at the end of the day, and can prevent foot swelling during pregnancy.
6- Wear loose and comfortable clothes
Wearing tight clothing, especially around your wrists, waist, and ankles, can make swelling worse. Basically, it prevents blood from circulating easily. Try to wear loose, comfortable clothing, or at least avoid tight elastic clothing. Loose dresses in summer and flowy cardigans in winter can be both comfortable and helpful.
7- Avoid excessive heat
Staying at home and avoiding vigorous exercise during the heat of the day can help you stay cool and reduce swelling, especially if you’re pregnant during the hot summer months. You can also wear cold clothing, apply cold compresses to your feet, or keep a fan nearby.
8- Wear compression stockings at waist level
If your feet swell persistently during pregnancy or if you have to stand most of the time, you can wear compression stockings up to your waist. These stockings gently squeeze your feet and legs to help keep fluid circulating. Try to avoid knee-high compression stockings as they can be too tight in the middle of your leg and actually make the swelling worse.
Even a 5-10 minute walk a few times a day can help improve your blood circulation, which helps reduce foot swelling during pregnancy. This can also be a good break during the day and is a great way to exercise safe for pregnancy.
10- Wear comfortable shoes
You may look cute in your heels, but later in pregnancy is a good time to take a break from them. Wearing comfortable, snug-fitting shoes is key to reducing foot swelling as well as preventing hip and back problems that can occur when your center of gravity changes and your weight increases.
In addition to swelling, the ligaments in your body (including those in your feet) actually stretch during pregnancy, so your feet may change in size. Some women’s feet return to their pre-pregnancy size, but many women find that their feet are permanently half a size or larger.
It can be frustrating when something has changed or some of your beloved shoes no longer fit. But this is the perfect excuse to buy some new shoes.
11- Spending time in the pool
There are no studies to prove that water pressure reduces swelling during pregnancy, but many women find relief from swelling when they spend time in the pool. Try standing or swimming in a pool where the water depth is almost up to your neck. At the very least, you’ll feel lighter, cooler, and get some exercise. You may also notice that your feet and legs are less swollen.
12- Get a massage
Your partner may be looking for ways to be involved in the pregnancy process and this is the perfect opportunity. Massage helps circulate the fluids that tend to build up in your feet, which in turn reduces swelling. So put something under it and lift your feet up and let your partner gently massage your feet and legs. Adding some peppermint or lavender essential oil can make this even more soothing.
To be safe, you may want your partner to avoid applying firm pressure to certain acupuncture points associated with uterine contractions. Many massage studios offer special prenatal massages if you are pregnant alone or if your partner is not sensitive. These are great for not only helping with swelling but also helping to relieve the stress that can accompany pregnancy.
13- Sleep on your left side
Sleeping on your left side as much as possible can improve blood flow, which in turn reduces swelling of the feet. Lying on your left side takes the pressure off your uterus from the large blood vessel that returns blood to your heart.
As a result
Foot swelling during pregnancy is a very common side effect of pregnancy. Swelling is caused by increased fluid volume in your body as well as decreased circulation. It is important to see your doctor if you experience sudden or severe swelling, as this could be a sign of something more serious. But a little swelling is absolutely normal. You can help prevent foot swelling by doing regular light exercise, drinking plenty of water, resting and eating a balanced diet.