Although it’s a magical experience, pregnancy isn’t always a comfortable journey. Mums-to-be experience many side effects such as nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and hair thinning. But another common discomfort of pregnancy is swelling in the feet.
Although this condition is seldom a matter of concern, it can interfere with an expecting mumma’s daily activities. But worry now, there are many ways to alleviate your swollen feet symptoms and get relief.
The answer is yes! Swelling in the feet is normal during pregnancy and occurs due to bodily changes and fluid accumulation. As your uterus grows, the blood flow to the legs gets restricted, thus increasing the pressure on them and causing swelling.
Most women begin to experience swollen feet and the associated discomforts towards the end of their second trimester and the beginning of their first trimester. The symptoms of swollen feet may increase as your pregnancy progresses.
When you are pregnant, your body generates extra fluid to support the growth of the fetus. This causes blood circulation to slow down and results in the buildup of fluid in the body. Also, as your uterus expands, the pressure on your lower body and veins increases, leading your ankle and feet to swell up.
Some of the other factors that contribute to this condition include:
However, be informed that the usual amounts of salt in your diet may not cause swelling. Therefore, unless your doctor suggests otherwise, do not restrict sodium from your diet.
While swollen feet during pregnancy is normal, they can feel uncomfortable and achy. Thankfully, there are several ways to relieve these symptoms and ease your pain.
Drinking ample water might seem counterintuitive when you are trying to prevent fluid retention in the body. But staying hydrated can actually minimise the swelling in your feet during pregnancy. This is because the fluid helps you flush out the retained water from the body. Therefore, make sure you are drinking around 8-12 glasses of water regularly.
Salty food can retain water in the body. So do your best to avoid high-sodium foods in your diet, such as fast foods. Consuming high-sodium foods frequently can cause puffiness and swelling. Instead, switch to filling your diet with fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats, and proteins.
Regular exercise such as walking, yoga, and swimming allows your leg muscles to contract and helps release pressure from the veins. This in turn improves blood circulation and reduces swelling in the feet.
Moreover, light stretches and bends can help fluid drainage in the legs and provide relief from the discomfort of swollen feet. Therefore, make sure to indulge in some light exercises and stretches regularly to keep the blood flowing and avoid your feet from swelling up.
During pregnancy, you must avoid wearing shoes with tight straps or socks with tight bands. This may cause your condition to worsen by blocking blood circulation and increasing the risk of blood clots.
Wear comfortable and loose socks. You can even consider purchasing orthotic insoles as they are super-softy and easy to slide in. These soles are specially designed to provide relief from swollen feet and foot pain by providing extra support to the arch and feet.
A foot massage after a long day sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Well, it’s also a great way to reduce swelling during pregnancy. Studies have shown that gentle massages can help in lymphatic drainage and reduce swelling.
So go get your partner and ask them to apply gentle pressure on the swollen areas. You can also use a natural foot cream designed with plant-based ingredients such as shea butter, argan oil, peppermint oil, almond oil, and Vitamin E. These ingredients will help soothe your tired feet and make you comfortable.
You can also try dipping your feet in cold water before going to bed. Try this for 20 minutes daily to see results. Use a large bowl or your bathtub for this and make sure that the water you’re using is not ice cold.
This method requires you to apply pressure on the reflex points to reduce swelling. It is an effective treatment method recommended by doctors to reduce swelling in the feet during pregnancy. However, you should get this treatment administered by an aurthorised practitioner only.
Potassium is pivotal in regulating the amount of fluid in the body. A diet low in potassium can make the swelling in your feet worse. Although your prenatal vitamins contain some amounts of potassium in them, you can also include the following foods in your diet to up your potassium intake:
While swelling in your feet is a common symptom of pregnancy, it can sometimes be difficult to deal with. Therefore, take proper care and implement preventive measures right from the early stages of your pregnancy to avoid this condition. Also, in case of severe pain, do seek medical care immediately.