Why do women’s feet swell during pregnancy?
Roger W. Harms, M.D., leading obstetrician at the Mayo Clinic, explains why women’s feet swell during pregnancy.
“Your body produces and retains more fluid during pregnancy,” he says.
“Also, your growing uterus puts pressure on your veins, which impairs return of blood to your heart. In turn, this can lead to swelling in the legs, ankles and feet. Hormonal changes might play a role as well.”
To avoid cankles, Dr. Roger W. Harms suggests a number of measures:
1. Sleep on your left side:
This takes pressure off the inferior vena cava – the large vein that returns blood from the lower half of your body to your heart.
2. Stand in water:
Standing in a pool can compress tissues in the legs and might provide temporary relief.
3. Stay cool:
It might be soothing to apply cold-water compresses to swollen areas.
4. Wear compression stockings:
Your midwife or GP might recommend wearing supportive tights or stockings.
5. Drink plenty of fluids:
The Institute of Medicine recommends about two litres of fluids a day during pregnancy.
Walking and swimming can alleviate swelling.
7. Stay off your feet:
Avoid standing for long periods, and don’t cross your legs.
When you can, sit with your feet up and occasionally rotate your feet at the ankles.
Better still, lie down with your legs elevated.