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Swollen Feet During Pregnancy: Why Occur and Best Way To Prevent It

Swollen feet during pregnancy, also known as edema, are a common symptom experienced by many expectant mothers. It typically occurs due to the body retaining more fluids during pregnancy. This comprehensive guide aims to provide an in-depth understanding of this condition, its causes, symptoms, and various ways to manage it.

What is Edema?

Edema is a medical term for swelling. It happens when tiny blood vessels in your body (capillaries) leak fluid, causing the blood clot surrounding tissue to swell.

How Common is Edema in Pregnancy?

Edema affects about three-quarters of pregnant women. It can start around week 22 to week 27 of pregnancy and can continue up until birth.

Causes of Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Hormonal Changes

Pregnancy triggers a surge of hormones that can lead to increased fluid retention, resulting in swelling in the feet and ankles. These hormonal changes are necessary to support the growing baby but can cause discomfort for the mother.

Increased Blood Volume and Circulation

During pregnancy, your body produces about 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. This increase in extra fluid can contribute to swelling in the feet and ankles.

Pressure from the Growing Baby

As your baby grows, pressure on your veins can slow blood return to the growing uterus from your lower body, causing it to pool, which can lead to swelling.

Symptoms of Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Recognizing the Signs

Swelling can range from a slight puffiness in the feet and ankles to noticeable swelling that may make it difficult to wear shoes. It’s usually worse at the end of the day and can be exacerbated by heat.

Variations in Swelling

Swelling can vary from person to person. Some may experience mild swelling, while others may have more pronounced swelling. It can also fluctuate from day to day, depending on factors like diet, physical activity, and weather.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Warning Signs

While mild swelling is normal, sudden or severe swelling in your hands, face, feet swell or legs could be a sign of a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Preeclampsia: A Serious Concern

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the liver and kidneys. Sudden or severe swelling could be a symptom of this condition.

Home Remedies for Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Prevent Swollen Ankles


Drinking plenty of water can reduce fluid retention. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses a day. While it might seem counterintuitive, staying well-hydrated can help your body balance its fluid levels and reduce swelling.


Regular physical activity, such as walking or swimming, can improve circulation and reduce swelling. Exercise helps move the fluids that are pooled in certain areas, especially the feet and ankles, and circulate them back to the heart.

Ankle Rotations

Sit comfortably and extend one leg. Rotate your ankle 10 times clockwise and then 10 times counterclockwise to the left side. Repeat with the other foot.

Toe Taps

While sitting, tap your toes on the floor rapidly. This can help increase blood circulation.

Heel Raises

Stand behind a chair for support. Lift your heels off the ground and rise on your toes. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your heels. Repeat 10-15 times.


A simple walk can do wonders for swollen feet. It helps improve circulation and reduces fluid buildup.

Leg Lifts

Lie on your back and lift each leg in the air. Hold for a few seconds and then lower it back down. Repeat 10 times for each leg.


If you have access to a pool, swimming is a great low-impact exercise that can help reduce swelling and provide relief from foot and ankle discomfort.


Elevating your feet whenever possible can help reduce swelling by improving blood flow. Try to elevate your feet above the level of your heart, especially after long periods of standing or sitting.


Your diet plays a significant role in managing swelling during pregnancy. Here are some dietary tips to help reduce foot and ankle swelling:

Limit Sodium Intake

High sodium intake can contribute to excess fluid retention. Try to limit your consumption of high-sodium foods like processed meats, canned soups, and fast food.

Eat Potassium-Rich Foods

Potassium can help balance the level of fluids in your body and reduce swelling. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, oranges, spinach, and sweet potatoes.

Increase Protein Intake

Protein can help balance the levels of sodium and fluids in your cells. Include lean meats, eggs, dairy, and legumes in your diet.

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine can dehydrate you, which might lead to increased swelling. Try to limit your intake of coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages.

Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods

Magnesium can help reduce water retention. Foods like almonds, tofu, whole grains, and dark chocolate are rich in magnesium.

Foot Massage

A gentle foot massage can help with pain, stimulate blood flow and reduce swelling. However, make sure it’s done gently, as too much pressure can cause discomfort.

Medical Treatments for Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Compression Stockings

In some cases, your healthcare provider might suggest compression stockings. These special socks apply pressure to your lower legs, helping to maintain blood flow and reduce discomfort and swelling.


In severe cases, medication might be prescribed by your healthcare provider. Always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medication during pregnancy.

Prevention Tips

Swelling During Pregnancy

Stay Active

Regular physical activity can help improve circulation and prevent fluid from pooling in your feet and ankles. Choose low-impact exercises that are safe for pregnancy, such as walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen during pregnancy.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Tight shoes can restrict circulation and exacerbate swelling. Opt for comfortable, supportive footwear that provides ample room for your feet. You may find that you need a larger shoe size during pregnancy due to swelling.

Wear Compression Socks

Compression socks can help improve circulation and reduce swelling. They apply pressure to your lower legs, helping to maintain blood flow and reduce discomfort and swelling. Always consult with your healthcare provider before using compression socks.

Dietary Adjustments

Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and limiting your intake of caffeine and sodium can also help prevent swelling.

In Conclusion, Swollen ankles and feet sometimes during pregnancy can be uncomfortable, but it’s usually harmless. By understanding the causes and remedies, you can better manage this common pregnancy symptom. Remember, if swelling becomes severe or sudden, seek medical attention immediately.

Other Symptoms

Frequently Asked Questions

Is swelling of the feet a normal part of pregnancy?

Yes, mild swelling of the feet and ankles is a common part of pregnancy due to increased body fluids

When should I be concerned about swelling during pregnancy?

If you experience sudden or severe swelling in your hands, face, or legs, seek medical attention immediately as it could be a sign of preeclampsia.

Do compression socks help with swollen feet during pregnancy?

Yes, compression socks can help improve circulation and reduce swelling

Can exercise reduce swelling during pregnancy?

Yes, regular physical activity can improve circulation and help reduce fluid retention.

Does drinking water help reduce swelling during pregnancy?

Yes, staying hydrated can help your body retain less fluid and reduce swelling.

All Things Childcare strives to provide research-based information. While the contents of this article have been fact-checked, we encourage our readers to seek actual medical advice from health professionals.

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