Pregnancy can be a time of many changes to your body. As the pregnancy progresses, not only does your belly grow, your bones can shift, your hormones can change, and your extremities can swell up.
Swelling during pregnancy is fairly common and it happens as a form of protection. At about 20 weeks into the pregnancy, swelling can appear in your hands, pelvic region, breasts, and especially in your calves, ankles, and feet. The body retains the fluid allowing for expansion of certain areas of the body in preparation for the birth. Because most of the day is spent upright, fluid that goes down to the legs and feet can have a harder time returning as the baby continues to grow and reduces overall circulation.
For most women, swelling is an uncomfortable issue, but not one that is severe problem. The concern comes in if there is excessive swelling, or uneven swelling (such as in one side of the arm or leg instead of both). If swelling becomes abnormal, you should see your OBGYN as it could mean a pregnancy complication or a blood clot.
Tips for Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
Swelling is not uncommon, but it can cause discomfort. Shoes may not fit anymore and there could be less sensitivity due to swelling. The following are tips for managing swollen feet:
- Hydrate – Make sure you get enough water so that you can replenish fluids.
- Compression – Wear compression socks to prevent swelling in the feet. Make sure shoes are not on too tight, which could cut circulation and cause discomfort or pain on the feet.
- Elevate, Rest, and Ice – Take breaks and elevate the feet when possible. Standing or walking for long periods can increase swelling in the feet. If swelling is worse on a particular day after long periods of being upright, try ice to reduce some of the swelling.
- Eat a healthy diet - Reduce intake of salty foods and caffeine, but eat foods that are high in potassium and magnesium.
- Exercise - Keep moving your feet and ankles, even when you’re sitting for a while to increase circulation.
Are you concerned about swelling in the feet? Do you have changes in the feet while you’re pregnant? Make an appointment with us at The Podiatry Group. Our podiatrists, Dr. Mark E. Reiner, Dr. Michael A. Haughey, Dr. William G. Coates, and Dr. Erik D. Rosenlof can perform a thorough assessment at our Jonesboro, AR office.