Pregnancy is a challenge as there is a little one growing inside you, causing zillion physical and emotional changes. The body changes in many ways you have never experienced and thought of. One such experience is swollen feet during pregnancy. Not to be nervous and stressed about edema in pregnancy as it is very common and can be managed by precautionary measures and simple home remedies for swollen feet. The swelling in feet during pregnancy is also referred to as pedal edema in pregnancy. Feet swelling in pregnancy occurs around 22th to 27th week of pregnancy and usually lasts until the entire pregnancy term.
What is Edema?
“Edema” is the medical term for swelling or puffiness caused when excessive fluid is trapped in your body tissues. Feet swelling during pregnancy occurs when the body finds it difficult to pump the fluids back from the feet to the heart. This fluid retention leads to swelling during pregnancy. Also the pressure of the growing fetus causes feet swelling in pregnancy.
What causes swollen feet in pregnancy?
The feet swelling in pregnancy differs in every trimester of pregnancy, so does the causes of swollen feet during pregnancy:
There is a rapid increase of progesterone and estrogen hormones in the first trimester of pregnancy, which slows down digestion. This causes abdominal bloating and beginning of edema in pregnancy which is not much noticeable.
Beginning of the 13th week of pregnancy marks the second trimester. The swelling during pregnancy seems noticeable from this trimester. Increasing blood volume and body fluids, added with the hormonal fluid retention results in pedal edema in pregnancy, as the blood volume increases by about 50% during pregnancy. All this fluid is important to prepare the body for giving birth. This extra fluid decreases rapidly after parturition.
Third trimester begins at the 28th week of pregnancy and is the most common time for almost every pregnant lady to experience swollen feet during pregnancy. The body is continuously building fluid and blood volumes, and the uterus becomes heavier, slowing the blood flow from legs towards the heart.
Other factors that can contribute to swollen feet during pregnancy:
Pregnant women feel more heat than normal, and warm or hot weather further increases the discomfort. Hot weather may cause dehydration, fatigue, heat exhaustion and Edema in pregnancy
Long standing, or sitting for long periods can cause feet swelling during pregnancy. The gravitational force plays a major role in this pedal edema in pregnancy.
Excessive salt intake causes fluid retention. Food products like pickles are high in sodium content resulting in swelling during pregnancy
Increased caffeine intake
Caffeine tends to increase fluid retention in the body, and excessive consumption causes edema in pregnancy. Caffeine is not good during pregnancy having serious effects like low birth weight and miscarriage.
Fluid retention many times can be a sign of dehydration. If a pregnant woman does not consume enough water every day, her body can undergo dehydration and cause swollen feet during pregnancy.
Obesity causes pressure on veins resulting in peripheral edema in pregnancy. Less body activity causes fluid pooling in the legs and feet causing pedal edema in pregnancy. Women who gain weight faster are more likely to get swollen feet during pregnancy.
Working on the cause helps ease the discomfort of the feet swelling during pregnancy. Edema in pregnancy is inexhaustible but there are home remedies for swollen feet during pregnancy which can aid some relief.
How to reduce foot swelling during pregnancy?
There are few natural ways to keep the swelling in control:
Reduce sodium intake
Too much salt intake leads to water retention in the body. Though we can’t cut it out completely as the body needs salt nutrients, moderate intake is optimum. The suggested maximum sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams per day which is about one teaspoon of salt. Reducing sodium intake inturn reduces swollen feet during pregnancy
Increase potassium intake
Potassium works as an antagonist of sodium, hence helps lower the blood pressure and reduces fluid retention in the body. Increase in potassium intake helps reduce foot swelling during pregnancy.
Drink more water
Pregnancy makes women feel hotter than usual. Soaring temperatures aggravate swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy. Drinking more water assists in flushing out body toxins, lowers the blood pressure, keeps the body hydrated and reduces pedal edema in pregnancy.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing
Tight clothes can cause fluid retention and itching. If the weather is hot and humid, wear light and loose-fitting clothes which help ease the swelling during pregnancy.
Light exercises and yoga
Any kind of light exercise or yoga not only makes you feel refreshed and active but also helps you with your swollen feet during pregnancy. However, consult your medical expert before commencing any physical exercises during pregnancy.
Wear waist-high compression stockings
Waist-high compression stockings prevent fluid build-up, and creates pressure on the legs reducing pedal edema in pregnancy.
Elevate your feet and rest
Put some pillows under your feet to elevate them in a sleeping position. Even while sitting use a stool under your feet which will aid in decreasing the pedal edema in pregnancy. Take rest from time to time and sit in the leg elevated position that lowers the feet swelling in pregnancy.
Walking is the best cardio exercise that suits a pregnant woman. It reduces excessive body fat and obesity, prevents fluid pooling in the feet and helps pump the excess fluid back toward the heart, all resulting in reducing the swollen feet pregnancy.
Sleep on your left side
Try to sleep on your left side to increase circulation and help kidneys eliminate wastes from the body easily. This home remedy for swollen feet is simple to do without any other gear.
Get your feet wet/ A Comforting Soak
Dip your swollen feet during pregnancy in water with some Epsom salt or essential oils. Add a few drops of Peppermint oil in the warm water and soak your feet to alleviate the swelling and discomfort. A tonic water soak of comfortably cold water helps to relieve the swelling feet during pregnancy.
Wear comfortable shoe
Tight shoes can cause pooling of fluids in feet, and prevent the blood flow from feet to the heart. Wearing comfortable shoes which are not too tight or too loose is important for reducing foot swelling during pregnancy.
Water pressure during swimming provides great relief to tired and bloated feet. You can consult your health expert and take a slow walk in the pool. Water compresses the tissues in the feet and provides relief from swollen feet.
Staying cool helps reduce foot swelling during pregnancy. Keep yourself hydrated, take a shower 2 times a day if needed, make use of an air conditioner to regulate the room temperature, and avoid going out in warm weather.
Eat a healthy diet
Consume a diet rich in nutrients, high fibrous and high in potassium content. Salt balance in the body helps regulate the fluid content in the tissues. A healthy diet enhances digestion, reduces bloating, regulates blood circulation better, and reduces foot swelling in pregnancy.
Visit a podiatrist or pedicurist
A podiatrist is the doctor of feet and a pedicurist is the cosmetologist of the feet. They help you check any foot infection as edema may sometimes interfere with sensations and maintain a safe nail length. A podiatrist will help you maintain clean feet and nails during swollen feet in pregnancy.
Avoid long standing
Standing or staying in the same position for long periods could lead to feet swelling during pregnancy. Also, while sitting, keep changing your posture slowly and stretch your legs at small intervals.
Get a massage
Gentle yet sturdy circular motions on the feet are perfect for reducing the bloating, cramping, aches in the feet and reduce pedal edema in pregnancy. You could consult a prenatal massage therapist or get yourself treated with a relaxing massage, right at home. Use an olive oil base with almond oil to moisturize your feet and ankles. Shea butter massage will pamper the feet, keep it moisturized and relax the discomfort of swollen feet in pregnancy.
The Moms Co. recommends the below mentioned best foot cream for massage for relaxing your tired feet swelling during pregnancy:
NATURAL FOOT CREAM
It is best suited for swollen feet during pregnancy, as it is completely natural, toxin-free, paraben-free and chemical-free. This cream also deeply nourishes and moisturizes the feet and ankles. The peppermint oil in it provides a cooling sensation to the feet. Arginine gives relief from pedal edema in pregnancy by increasing the blood circulation.
These precautionary measures and remedies will surely help you feel better about the swollen feet pregnancy. For some women, magnesium supplements bring relief, for others, just some good rest. So try these home remedies for swollen feet during pregnancy and find your solution.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes, feet swelling during pregnancy might lead to serious conditions and need a doctor’s attention. If your hands and face start showing signs of puffiness, consult your health expert immediately. It could be a sign of a serious pregnancy condition called preeclampsia which can be fatal for both mother and the baby. If there is excessive swelling in the first trimester of pregnancy accompanied by symptoms like dizziness, headache, or bleeding seeing a medical specialist is important.