Puffy ankles and feet are normal during pregnancy, but can sometimes signal more serious problems. Learn what to look for, and how to keep edema in check.
Edema (or swelling) in the hands, feet and ankles is very common during the 3rd trimester (especially during the heat of summer). Puffiness in the face and neck can also occur—especially after the 20th week. Virtually every woman will experience it to some degree.
⭐There are 3 main reasons why women experience swelling while pregnant.
➡Throughout pregnancy, you produce more blood than usual to help your baby grow.
➡As the baby grows, your uterus presses on and slightly blocks the veins that return blood from your legs to your heart.
➡Your hormones make the walls of your veins softer, which makes it harder for them to work properly.
For these reasons, your blood tends to pool in your legs and produces the swelling you can see and feel.
⭐Should you be worried about swelling during pregnancy?
Edema accompanied by certain other symptoms can signal more serious underlying problems. Be on the lookout for more swelling in one leg than the other, accompanied by pain, which can signal a possible blood clot.
A headache that won’t go away, along with vision changes (like blurriness or sensitivity to light), can be signs of preeclampsia (pregnancy-specific high blood pressure)
Swelling accompanied by chest pains or difficulty breathing could mean heart trouble.
Contact your health-care practitioner immediately if you experience any of these additional red flags.
⭐How can you reduce swelling?
Some simple things can help you feel more comfortable and can also aid in preventing swelling.
✔Avoid standing for long periods without moving
✔Wear comfortable shoes (avoid tight straps or anything that might pinch if your feet swell)
✔Put your feet up as much as you can
limit salty foods and excessive salt in your diet
✔Pleep on your left side, which will help blood return to the heart
✔Exercise regularly by walking or swimming - this helps keep your circulation going.
⭐When will pregnancy swelling go away?
Within about 24 hours after delivery, most women will notice a big difference. In the meantime, just remember that what you’re experiencing is normal and try not to worry about it too much. Take advantage of this opportunity to put your feet up—while you still can.