Causes of Swollen Ankles in Pregnancy and Relief Options

Pregnancy related side effects can range from negligible to bothersome. One of these is characterized by swelling of feet and ankles. This symptom is common in pregnancy and does not harm your baby, if it happens gradually, but it can be annoying. Most women experience this in the advanced stages than early. This often gets more uncomfortable by the end of the day.

Causes of swollen ankles

When you are expecting, your body tends to retain water more than its usual. During daytime, the excess water collects in the lower body parts, due to gravity. This happens more when the temperature increases or because of long hours of standing.

This is also caused because of the hormonal changes that make it difficult for the blood vessels to function efficiently. Also, the pressure from the weight of the uterus in later stages can affect the veins in legs and cause swelling and fluids to accumulate around the ankles. You may feel pain and discomfort when walking with swollen feet.

swollen ankles in pregnancy

What can you do to avoid this issue?

  • Avoid sitting or standing for too long. Try to change your position from time to time.
  • Don’t sit on chairs that are high for your legs to touch the surface or rest. If you let them dangle without support, the water gathers at the ankles, causing swelling.
  • Try to elevate your feet on a stool when sitting or a pillow when lying down.
  • Wearing comfortable shoes is highly important. Avoid fitted socks, stockings or straps that might cause more discomfort.
  • Wear loose and comfy clothes, so that the blood flow is not affected.
  • Sleep on your left side, as you move further in pregnancy, to reduce the pressure of the womb on the blood vessels.
  • Cut down on your salt intake. Avoid processed foods.
  • Stay physically active throughout the trimesters.

In case, if the swelling of feet happens suddenly, instead of increasing gradually, then it can be a concern. If you notice sudden swelling of the face and hands too, it may be a symptom of preeclampsia, which is a serious condition. This kind of swelling, accompanied by blurry vision, continuous headaches and high blood pressure needs immediate medical attention.


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