Pregnancy is a time of great change to a woman’s body. Likeness for certain foods increase while it decreases for other foods. The woman gains weight as the pregnancy progresses. As her stomach feels out,so does other parts of her body like her breasts, her hips and her buttocks.
And as the pregnancy gets to 6/7 months (for most people), a rather uncomfortable change occurs where it becomes increasingly difficult to find a footwear that fits – the ankles and feet begins to swell up too! This tends to freak a lot of mom-to-be out! ( I was freaked out too). You resort to wearing slippers and even this is difficult as you have to force your legs into them.
Lots of old wife’s tales on why the feet swells at this time.
So, what exactly is the cause of swollen feet during pregnancy and how can it be managed?
Changes in blood chemistry cause some fluid to shift into your tissues, and by the third trimester, the weight of your uterus puts so much pressure on your pelvic veins and the vena cava (the large vein on the right side of your body that carries blood from your legs and feet back up to your heart), that blood can pool, forcing fluid retention below the knees ( a condition called Edema)
When is it a problem?
Mild edema isn’t a problem. However if your hands and/or face become puffy or if swelling persists for more than a day at a time – which doesn’t improve overnight, please, see your doctor. Excessive swelling, a headache that won’t go away, along with vision changes (like blurriness or sensitivity to light) can be one sign of preeclampsia (pregnancy-specific high blood pressure)
Also be on the lookout for more swelling in one leg than the other, accompanied by pain, which can signal a possible blood clot. OR swelling accompanied by chest pains or difficulty breathing could mean heart trouble.
Managing swollen feet during pregnancy
- Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. If you’re on your feet a lot, take breaks and have a seat. If you’re sitting down a lot, take a five-minute stroll at least once an hour.
- Put up your feet. If possible, elevate your legs when you’re sitting. Who has a better excuse to put up her feet than a pregnant woman?
- Lie on your side while sleeping. This actually is the most practical way to sleep when your stomach has grown noticeably. Try sleeping on your side (preferably your left) – it helps keep your kidneys humming along, which in turn helps waste elimination and reduces swelling.
- Move more. Try to walk as much as you can. It helps!
- Wear comfortable shoes. Comfortable (rather than fashion) should be your wtch word at this time. Wear shoes that give your feet room to breath
- Drink lots of water . Sounds lame but truth is, drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day will help rid your system of excess sodium and other waste products, minimizing swelling.
- Reduce your salt intake. Don’t go crazy with the salt shaker. Limiting salt too much increases swelling – so don’t cut it out entirely. But like everything, it’s best to keep your intake in moderation and salt to taste.