Swollen extremities are common during pregnancy, especially near the end of the pregnancy. The extra fluids in the body contribute to the swelling. The uterus also presses on your veins, particularly those that lead to the legs and feet, slowing your circulation in those areas. There are ways to minimize pregnancy swelling so your ankles don’t disappear into your calves.
Kick Up Your Feet
Elevating your feet helps reduce the pressure in your legs, which can help reduce the swelling in that area. You probably can’t put your feet up on your desk all day long, but you can keep a foot stool, milk crate or other object under your desk. If you’re on the go during the day, take breaks to elevate your feet. Spending too long sitting or standing can increase your swelling, so alternate your positioning through the day. When you head to bed, add a pillow under your feet for a slight elevation. Crossing your legs while sitting can also increase swelling.
Exercise helps improve your circulation, which often reduces swelling. Try to exercise on a regular basis during your pregnancy. If you’re stuck at a desk all day, take breaks as often as possible to walk around. When you can’t leave your desk, stretch your legs, toes, ankles and calves while you sit. Wiggling your toes and stretching your legs can boost your circulation.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
Avoid junk food, especially salty snacks, which can make you retain more water. A balanced diet makes sure your body gets the nutrients it needs to keep your system working properly. Protein, in particular, can help reduce fluid retention for less swelling.
Drinking lots of water helps reduce water retention in the body. The water keeps your body hydrated and helps flush out salt.
Heat tends to increase swelling. Many women who are pregnant during the summer experience swelling, especially after spending time outdoors. Excessive time in the heat can also cause your body to overheat, so it’s better to stay in the shade or indoors when the temperature rises.
Most maternity clothes are fine during your pregnancy, but some clothing can increase swelling. Avoid clothes that fit tightly around your wrists and ankles. These can restrict blood flow and increase swelling. Support stockings can help increase the circulation in your legs. Since heat can increase swelling, avoid dressing too warmly, particularly during the summer.