Feet Swelling in Pregnancy: Causes And Home Remedies

During pregnancy almost all women experience swelling in the feet, ankles, and face. Feet Swelling in pregnancy is natural at this time because a baby is in developmental stages and the body retains more fluids to protect and support the development of a baby.

Normally swelling in pregnancy feet happen in a later stage of pregnancy, when the baby and uterus put extra pressure on the legs and feet. This pressure decreases the circulation process around the body and increases fluid retention, which leads to swelling.

When you are initially experiencing swelling, it might be uncomfortable for you, but there is no need to be worried about it because it is a natural process.

Swelling in pregnancy feet will be a happy move for you because it indicates the last stage of pregnancy.

Generally swelling in pregnancy feet is common in the third stage of pregnancy but it might occur in the first and second stages also.

For women who are experiencing feet swelling during pregnancy, the swelling usually:

  • Appears gradually
  • Appears worse at the end of the day
  • Appears equal on both feet
  • Worse in hot weather
  • Decline  when they lie down or raise the feet

Causes of Feet Swelling in Pregnancy

Swelling in some parts of the body during pregnancy is normal. There is no need to be anxious. It usually occurs because the body generates extra fluid to help the growth of the fetus and protect him.

Moreover, a reduced rate of circulation retains the fluids in some parts of the body, especially in the feet and ankles which can add to the buildup of fluid.

The size of the uterus expands with the growth of the fetus, which put pressure on the veins in the lower parts of the body, which leads to feet and ankles swelling.

The first trimester of pregnancy

During the first trimester the level of progesterone hormone rises which slows down the process of digestion. This slow digestion process can cause abdominal bloating before you have a noticeable baby bump. At this stage, you may notice a little bit of puffiness in your feet, face, or hands. This type of swelling is normal but a little uncomfortable.

If you are experiencing lots of swelling at this early stage along with other symptoms such as headaches, bleeding, or dizziness, it is best for you to call your family doctor.

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The second trimester of pregnancy

The second trimester begins at the fourth month of the pregnancy which is week 13 of pregnancy. Normally there is no swelling in this stage. You will experience swelling when you are standing on your feet for a long time or the weather is hot.

During this stage, blood volume is increased by 50 percent because of hormonal fluid retention. Due to this increased volume of fluid, the body starts to swell.

This swelling is beneficial for you because this extra fluid softens your body and prepares you for birth.

This extra fluid will rapidly reduce after birth either in days or weeks.

The third trimester of pregnancy

The third trimester begins with week 28 of pregnancy. During this stage, you will experience extensive swelling of your feet, ankles, and face. Swelling will reach to peak when you get closer to 40 weeks.

During this trimester body continuously builds more blood and fluids, which contributes to swelling.

Moreover, the uterus becomes heavier in this trimester which reduces the blood flow from the legs and feet back to the heart, which leads to swelling. It is not a dangerous situation but just uncomfortable.

Other factors that contribute to swelling in pregnancy feet include:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Hot weather
  • Caffeine intake
  • Standing a long time on feet
  • Dietary imbalances
  • Increase intake of salt
  • Passive life

Home remedies for swollen feet during pregnancy

  1. Drink plenty of water

You will be astonished to hear that drinking more water will counteract swelling, but it works and reduces swelling. The reason is that when your body thinks that you are dehydrated, and then it holds more water to compensate for dehydration.

It is necessary for everyone to drink at least 10 glasses of water per day. This will keep your kidneys healthy and kidneys will easily flush out waste products from the body.

  • Reduce salt intake (sodium chloride)

During swelling reduce the intake of salt. Because salt retains extra water in the body, which leads to swelling. One molecule of salt retains four molecules of water.

To avoid swelling in pregnancy feet, you should avoid all that recipes that have a high content of salt.

To add flavor to your recipes use savory herbs such as thyme, oregano, and rosemary. It makes the recipes delicious.

  • Increase the intake of potassium

Getting a proper intake of potassium is necessary for pregnancy. Potassium helps in the regulation of water. It removes extra water from the body.

To reduce swelling in pregnancy feet, your foods and prenatal vitamin should have extra potassium.

Along with vitamins, your dietary source should have a high content of potassium. Foods that have a high level of potassium include:

  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Beets
  • Lentils
  • Yogurt
  • Beans
  • Fruit juice like orange, carrot, pomegranate, prune, etc
  • Salmon
  • Reduce intake of caffeine

During pregnancy reduce the intake of caffeine because it is not good for the baby and it worse the situation of swelling.

Caffeine is a diuretic that causes more urination which then makes your body think to hold more water to compensate for dehydration.

If you want to boost your energy level use decaf coffee with milk or an herbal tea such as peppermint.

  • Stay cool

When you are pregnant in summer, then try to remain cool. This coolness will reduce your swelling. You can do this by staying indoors in the heat of the day and reducing your exercise at day time.

Wear cool clothes, put your feet in cool water and keep yourself near to fan or air-conditioning.

  • Use waist-high compression stockings

If you are experiencing persistent swelling then wear waist-high compression stockings.

These stockings will reduce swelling because they compress your feet and legs and help in the circulation of fluids.

One thing that should be kept in mind is that you should not use knee-high compression stockings because it is very tight in the middle and it will make swelling worse.

  • Use loose and comfortable cloths

During pregnancy use of loose is indispensable. Wearing tight clothes around the wrist, ankles, and waist can make swelling worse because tight clothes reduce the rate of fluid circulation.

To get rid of swelling use loose and comfortable clothes and avoid tight elastic bands. Use maternity Maxi dresses in the summer and sweaters with joggers and flowy cardigans in winter.

  • Increase walking

As we know that walking increases fluid circulation. A 5-10 minute walk a couple of times a day can reduce your swelling.

Walking is a safe way of exercising during pregnancy with huge benefits.

  • Massage

Massage improves the rate of fluid circulation. So feet or ankles massage help in swelling reduction.

Take a water bottle, put your feet up, and let your partner gently massage your legs and feet. With this massage, you will feel relaxed and swelling will reduce. This massage improves fluid circulation and reduces foot swelling drastically.

If there is no one for massage, you can do it yourself.

  1. Elevate the feet slightly

Sitting all the time is not good during pregnancy because it affects fluid circulation. Standing for a long time is also not good because it makes swelling worse.

Elevating the feet for some time increases the flow of blood from the legs and feet to the heart which reduces the swelling to some extent.

To avoid feet and leg swelling, elevate feet at the end of the day.

  1. Avoid standing for a long time

During pregnancy avoid standing for a long time. Standing for a long time increases pressure on the legs and feet and causes swelling.

  1. Swim

There is no scientific proof that swimming reduces swelling but lots of women got relief from swelling when they spent most of their time swimming.

In swimming, you will feel lighter, and cooler and get exercise and all these things reduce the swelling.

If swimming is irritating to you then stand in a pool where the water depth is almost up to your neck. Standing in a pool can produce a soothing effect on pregnant women.

  1. Avoid sitting for a long time

To reduce swelling avoid sitting for a long time. Sitting in one place for a long time, decrease blood circulation. Decrease blood circulation makes swelling worse.

  1. Sleep on the left side of the body

To avoid swelling sleep on your left side, this can increase blood flow from the legs to the heart.

Sleeping on the left side reduces the pressure of your uterus on the inferior vena cava, which is a large blood vessel that returns blood to your heart from the lower parts of the body.


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