A common issue faced by plenty of women during pregnancy is swollen feet. And even though the entire body experiences some amount of swelling during this period, swollen feet can be extremely uncomfortable and can cause pain in certain situations.
Reasons For Swollen Feet
Also called as Edema, swollen feet is a normal biological process wherein the body tends to produce more water and blood during pregnancy. And even though the additional water and blood are needed for the proper development of the fetus, it leads to increased fluid retention which in turn causes all the extra water to flow down to the extremities of the body, in this case, the feet. As the excess water collects in them, your feet start appearing swollen and cause discomfort with time.
Another common reason for swollen feet happens to occur during the third trimester. Accordingly, the uterus which by now would have increased substantially in size would put extra pressure on the veins that carry blood in the body.
One of the veins affected by the enlarged uterus happens to be the one called Vena Cava (goes through the right thigh) which takes blood to the lower body, especially the thighs, ankles and feet. Under pressure, the blood flow in the Vena Cava slows down and leads to the accumulation of blood in the lower body. This again leads to the feet and ankles swelling up profusely.
When to See a Doctor
Edema is not a cause for concern as it is a normal biological process that usually dissipates on its own after the prenatal period. However, in cases the swelling does not reduce and instead, starts extending towards the hands and face, it is considered wise to get the issue checked out by a doctor.
Ways to Get Reduce/Prevent Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
As mentioned earlier, edema is a normal condition that occurs in almost every other pregnant woman. However, if it tends to make you pretty uncomfortable, here are some effective tips to take care of the issue.
Avoid standing for extended periods as this could channel more blood or fluids to the legs. Try sitting down every 10 minutes or so to give relief to your legs as well.
Try placing your legs on cushions or small tables (in a horizontal position) whenever you sit down instead of placing them on the floor in a vertical position. This would again cause more amounts of blood or fluids to reach the feet and stagnate there, thereby contributing to the swelling.
Try lying down on your left side as much as possible. This would lift off the pressure placed on the Vena Cava vein which courses through the right hand side of the body. This in turn would help reduce puffiness and discomfort.
Opt for foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium. Avoid salty foods as much as possible as the salt content in them would contribute to excess water retention in the body.
Opting for flat heeled shows can be a great relief for women suffering from swollen feet during pregnancy. It also pays to choose shoes that are comfortable and stretchable so that they don’t cramp your feet when you wear them (happens in the case of narrow shoes).
A new and yet quite popular product that has been doing the rounds of late in the women’s hosiery department is the pregnancy stocking. Easy to wear and extremely comfortable, these pregnancy stockings can inhibit the accumulation of fluids in your feet and thus prevent them from swelling up if you wear them from morning till night.