Swollen feet during pregnancy are a challenge almost every soon-to-be mom has to face. Especially often swelling during pregnancy afflicts women in the later pregnancy stages (during the second and third trimester). Swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy hurt, there’s a sensation of heaviness, a woman has difficulties with staying on her feet for a long time.
The problem arises due to the increased blood pressure in the lower limbs’ veins. The fetus is growing; the uterus is increasing in size, putting pressure on the pelvic veins. As a result, the blood vessels in your feet get clogged, which is leading to swelling. Without treatment, swollen feet during pregnancy can cause a number of complications, so this health problem shouldn’t be neglected.
The Causes of Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
Why do your feet and ankles swell? Swelling during pregnancy, in the majority of cases, is temporary and ceases soon after childbirth. The most common reasons for swollen feet during pregnancy are:
- Excess liquid in the body. Because of the changing during the childbearing process hormones pregnant women are often thirsty. It’s a completely normal occurrence which shouldn’t bother the future mother.
- Varicose veins. The growing fetus puts pressure on your lower limbs’ blood vessels. The veins are overflown with blood, which is leading to the swelling.
- Kidney dysfunction. During pregnancy your kidneys become overloaded. As a consequence, they can’t always manage to keep your body from retaining any water. Such a situation is triggering the swelling, which is often accompanied by bags under the eyes and infrequent urination.
- Uncomfortable clothes and footwear. Tight clothes and footwear can result in bad blood circulation. That’s especially true for high-heeled shoes!
- Heart or thyroid gland diseases. They cause pain not only in the legs, but also shoulders and even tongue! Besides, such problems can end in constipations, fatigue, sleepiness.
- Intestinal problems. Diarrhea induces intestinal disorders which lead to the swollen feet during pregnancy.
- Acute thrombophlebitis. It’s a very dangerous disease, and swollen feet are one of its symptoms. You can recognize the disease by such signs and symptoms, as increased temperature, redness on the legs, pain sensations.
- A recent viral infection. The infection can affect your kidneys and thus instigate the swelling.
- This is a health-threatening condition. Gestosis causes the swelling of your limbs as well as of the internal organs. It can affect the placenta and end in tragedy – your baby’s death.
Swollen feet during pregnancy can also occur because of the diseases of the joints, venous insufficiency, the lack of physical activity, obesity, the habit of sitting cross-legged. In order to eliminate health problems, consult a doctor.
The Stages of Swelling During Pregnancy. Normal And Abnormal Conditions
In some cases, when swollen feet during pregnancy are caused by a pathological process in the body functioning, the condition of the pregnant woman is gradually worsening. The swelling will spread to other parts of the body.
There are 4 stages of swelling:
- The swelling appears in the feet and ankles area.
- Then it spreads to the thighs, lower belly, and lower back.
- The edema covers higher regions, affecting arms, hands, and even face.
- The whole body is swollen.
During gestation, the mother’s body is accumulating sodium salt which retains water. Under the influence of some instigating factors, edema occurs. Among these factors are increased salt consumption, high ambient temperature, inadequate physical activity. Such swelling during pregnancy is normal and shouldn’t be a matter of concern. If you eliminate the instigating factors the swelling will reduce as well.
Pathological edema is entirely another case. It occurs as a consequence of a disease. As a rule, swollen feet during pregnancy are in this case accompanied by other symptoms: weight gain, swelling of other body parts, increased temperature, high blood pressure, fatigue, etc.
Swollen Feet During Pregnancy: The Risks
The worst possible reason for swelling during pregnancy is gestosis. At the initial stage, it causes dropsies, which can lead to kidney dysfunction and, after some time, to eclampsia. Eclampsia is mostly incurable and is characterized by frequent seizures which are sometimes so violent a woman enters a coma.
Gestosis can cause severe disruptions in the blood flow to the internal organs, including the placenta. The fetus doesn’t get enough oxygen and nutrients, and the normal development of its organs and systems is violated. This condition is the reason for the future chronic illnesses of the baby.
Other complications can be fetal death and premature birth.
You need to visit a doctor in the case of:
- Edema spreading to the abdomen, thighs, lower back, hands, or face;
- Swollen feet during pregnancy after a long rest or a night’s sleep;
- The decrease in the overall state of health, high blood pressure, and protein in the urine.
Swollen Feet And Pregnancy: The Symptoms
If your feet are slightly swollen it doesn’t necessarily mean you have edema during pregnancy. It’s often related to pregnancy weight gain. Swollen feet during pregnancy are easy to recognize: you won’t be able to put on your shoes.
You can also detect edema by the reaction to pressure. Conduct an experiment: press your finger to the skin on your foot, and then withdraw it. If your skin remains smooth, swollen feet during pregnancy are not the issue. But if there is a small dent, then the diagnosis is confirmed.
The symptoms of swollen feet during pregnancy usually become more pronounced in the evening: the tissues accumulate water during the day. In the morning, after a future mother has a good night’s rest, the swelling usually decreases or ceases completely. If it’s a common swelling during pregnancy you shouldn’t feel any pain.
The Treatment of Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
What should you do if you have swollen feet during pregnancy? How to treat the edema during pregnancy?
Swollen feet during pregnancy don’t require any special treatment if it’s natural causes. A doctor might prescribe some remedies that improve blood flow. Besides, you usually need to follow a diet and a number of preventive measures:
- Limit the consumption of salt. It retains water in the body. Put less salt in your food, and eat less spicy food. Steamed food is the best choice.
- Drink less liquid, especially in the third trimester. The maximum possible amount of liquid is 3 pints, fruit, vegetables, and soups included.
- Take vitamins. They’ll improve your blood vessels and reduce the amount of fluid which gets through the vessels into the tissues, so the edema will cease.
- Drink herbal teas. They’re diuretics. It’ll help to get the excess fluid out of your system. Rosehip, cranberries, horsetail, and dried apricots are efficient.
- Foot massage helps to reduce swelling during pregnancy.
If you’ve been diagnosed with gestosis you’ll most likely receive inpatient treatment. The problem is mostly untreatable, but, with the help of correctly chosen drug therapy, it’s possible to reduce the negative influence of the disease on the pregnant woman’s body.
How To Prevent Swollen Feet During Pregnancy?
In order to prevent swelling during pregnancy, the following measures are recommended:
- Physical activity. Do exercises for the pregnant; go for a walk; and in the evenings lie down on the bed or floor, raise your feet and prop them against a wall – hold this position for 10-15 minutes. The exercise restores the blood flow in your feet and ankles.
- The diet. Limit the consumption of salt, exclude sweet drinks and sodas from your ration, and drink less tea. If you’re thirsty, eat a succulent fruit or vegetable or drink a little mineral water.
- Include such products, as oranges, lemons, parsley, celery, garlic, tangerines, onion, into your diet. They are good for your kidneys.
- Put a small pillow under your feet during sleep.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
- Avoid overheating. Don’t go sunbathing or to a sauna while pregnant.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.