When you're pregnant, your body goes through a lot of changes. If this is your first pregnancy, you might not realize that some of those changes include swollen feet and ankles. Your feet may swell so much that you won't be able to wear your shoes for a while. You should tell your OB doctor as soon as you start experiencing swelling. While some minor swelling is normal, severe swelling may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as preeclampsia. If you're experiencing minor swelling, there are some simple steps you can take that will help provide you with some relief.
Whether you're standing or sitting, too much of one position is not a good thing when you're pregnant. If you stand for too long, you put too much pressure on your feet, which can lead to swelling. If you sit for too long, your legs are bent for too long, which can interfere with circulation and cause your feet to swell. To help reduce the occurrence of swelling in your feet and ankles, change positions throughout the day. Try not to stay in one position for more than an hour or so.
Put Your Feet Up
There's nothing wrong with taking a little rest in the afternoon. In fact, laying down and putting your feet up will help take the pressure off your body and reduce swelling. Lay down on your bed or couch. Place a pillow under your head and one or two under your feet. Try to do this at least once a day, especially in the later stages of pregnancy when swelling tends to get worse.
Become a Side Sleeper
If you sleep on your back in the final months of your pregnancy, you could be inviting kidney problems, which could lead to foot and ankle swelling. When you lay on your back, your kidneys have a hard time functioning properly. The increased pressure on your kidneys can cause swelling in your extremities. Instead of sleeping on your back, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees.
Get Some Exercise
Moving is a great way to keep your blood circulating during pregnancy. You don't have to do a lot of moving, either. All you have to do is take a short walk once or twice a day. Swimming is another good way to keep moving during pregnancy. Be sure to speak to your doctor before you do any type of exercise during pregnancy though.
If you're pregnant, you want to avoid swelling if possible. Use the simple tips provided above to reduce the occurrence of swelling during your pregnancy. If your swelling becomes severe, or you develop a headache with the swelling, be sure to speak to a doctor like Tod Stillson MD as soon as possible.