Pregnancy is that stage of a woman’s life where many physical changes happen. Along with these changes, a pregnant woman might take notice that as her baby bump is growing bigger; her lower extremities are starting to swell. What she is experiencing is edema where both the ankles and feet are swollen. This usually happens during the third trimester of the pregnancy and disappears after childbirth as the woman eliminates the excess fluids.
Edema occurs when there is a collection of excess fluids in your tissue and it is a normal occurrence that swelling occurs during pregnancy because a pregnant woman retains more water and there are changes in the blood chemistry causing fluids to shift in the tissues. Although these changes are perfectly normal during pregnancy, this can also be symptoms of a foot injury. A podiatrist can help reduce swollen ankles or identify if this was caused by a foot injury. Dr. Charles Sulesky is a podiatrist who specializes in helping people with foot disorders and injuries.
Swollen ankles and feet may also be because of the growing uterus. Since it is growing, it puts pressure on the pregnant woman’s pelvic vein and the vena cava. The pressure slows the return of blood from her legs and forces the fluids from her veins into the tissues of the ankles and feet.
Swollen ankles can be reduced during pregnancy by these following ways:
(Always check with your podiatrist before treatment of symptoms)
- Resting on your left side will work as the vena cava is on the right side of your body.
- Never cross your legs or ankles while sitting.
- Wear shoes that are comfortable for you and accommodates the swelling.
- Do not use socks or stockings that are tight around the ankles and calves.
- Use high-waist maternity support stocking. Wear them before going out of bed in the morning because this helps prevent the pooling of fluids around your ankles.
- Elevate your feet up every time you have the chance.
- Exercise and stretch your legs regularly even when sitting. Stretch and straighten your leg out with heel first. Flex your foot and stretch your calf muscles. Rotate your ankles and move your toes.
- If you can, do swimming or water aerobic classes. Soaking yourself in the water helps reduce swelling temporarily.
- Drink plenty of water. Though you might get shock, drinking lots of water helps your body retain less fluid.