The body produces approximately 50% more blood and fluids during pregnancy to meet the needs of developing baby. Swelling during pregnancy is caused by additional blood and fluids. During pregnancy uterus puts pressure on your veins which in turn impairs return of blood to your heart.
How to Prevent Swelling During Pregnancy:
There are various reasons that contribute to foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy. Ankle and foot swellings are common and go away after delivery. Follow are few tips that might help you:
Sleep on your left side: By sleeping on left side, it takes off the pressure from the large vein that returns blood from the lower half of the body to heart. It helps you better if you elevate your legs slightly with pillows.
Wear compression stockings: Your health care provider may recommend you to wear supportive tights or stockings during the day.
Stay off your feet: Avoid standing for long hours. Try to sit with your feet up and occasionally rotate your feet at the ankles and gently flex your feet to stretch you calf muscles. It is better if you lie with your legs elevated.
Be physically active each day: Take walks, swim in pool etc. try to be active every day.
Wear loose clothes: Tight clothes restrict blood flow. Do not wear stockings and tight socks with tight bands on calves and ankles.
Foot Massage and reflexology: It is suggested by some researchers that foot massage and reflexology which involves applying pressure to certain areas of feet, hands and ears may help to decrease foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy.
Though mild foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy is very common and normal. Sudden swelling is painful especially if it occurs in one leg only.
If you are experiencing severe foot and ankle pain for more than one week during your pregnancy it would be best that you consult a gynaecologist at the earliest.