Swelling happens when your body holds on to more fluid than usual during pregnancy. This is called oedema.
It’s normal to have swelling, especially later in your pregnancy. This is usually temporary and goes away after delivery. It’s common for pregnant women to feel puffiness in their ankles, feet, and fingers. However, some women can have swelling for another 12 weeks after the delivery.
Swelling can also be a sign that something more serious is wrong:
- Sudden swelling that is painful, especially if it’s in one leg only, could be an indication of a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis)
- A sudden increase in swelling also might mean that your blood pressure is higher than normal
- Very swollen ankles, fingers, hands, or face can be a sign of preeclampsia.
You should contact your doctor immediately if you have these symptoms.
How to cope with foot and ankle swelling?
Swelling in your ankles tends to get worse as the day goes on. Here are the things you can you to relieve the swelling.
- Change your shoe to a bigger size
- Choose supportive shoes with a low or flat heel with a fastening to keep them firmly on your feet
- Avoid standing for long periods
- Sit with your feet up and occasionally rotate your feet at the ankles and gently flex your feet to stretch your calf muscles
- Lie down with your legs elevated.
- Sleep on your left side to get the better blood circulation
- Wear compression or supportive tights, if your doctor suggested them
- Wear loose clothing
- Don’t wear socks or stockings with tight bands on the ankles or calves
- Do not cut back on drinking water (the Institute of Medicine recommends about 10 cups of fluids a day during pregnancy)
- Try to exercise if possible
Foot massage might also help but the pressure point massage should be avoided.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat, MD. (30 June 2020)