How to Reduce Swollen Feet During Pregnancy


Swollen feet are one of the most common physical ailments during pregnancy, especially in the later stages. This swelling happens to an estimated 80% of pregnant women so you’re certainly not alone1. While mildly swollen feet during pregnancy are normal, they can be uncomfortable. The good news is you don’t have to settle for swollen feet during pregnancy! There are multiple ways to counteract this ailment and alleviate your discomfort.

Today, we’re discussing how to reduce swollen feet during pregnancy. Continue reading to learn what causes this condition, what helps, and specific methods you can try to alleviate swelling naturally.

What Causes Swollen Feet During Pregnancy?

Swollen feet during pregnancy, called edema, are a common condition that may cause discomfort if left unchecked. This swelling may be a result of increased blood volume, hormonal changes, or pressure from the growing uterus. Understanding the causes of swollen feet can help pregnant women manage this discomfort more effectively.

Some of the most common causes of swollen feet during pregnancy include:

  • Increased blood volume: One of the primary reasons for swollen feet during pregnancy is an increase in blood volume. Your body produces more blood to support your growing baby, leading to greater pressure on blood vessels and fluid retention in tissues.
  • Hormonal changes: Pregnancy hormones, such as progesterone, can cause your body to retain more water. This excess fluid can accumulate in your feet and ankles.
  • Pressure from the uterus: As your uterus expands to accommodate the growth of your baby, it can exert pressure on the veins that carry blood from your lower body back to your heart. This pressure can impede circulation which leads to fluid buildup in your feet and ankles.
  • Increased sodium intake: Consuming too much sodium can cause the body to retain water and make swollen feet during pregnancy worse. Limiting your sodium intake will help reduce fluid retention, relieving swollen feet during pregnancy.

What Helps Swollen Feet During Pregnancy?

Managing swollen feet during pregnancy involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments and self-care routines. Staying hydrated, maintaining a balanced diet low in sodium, and incorporating gentle exercise into your routine can help reduce swelling.

Learn about safe ways to exercise during pregnancy after this article.

Elevating your feet whenever possible and wearing the right shoes can also help with how to ease swollen feet during pregnancy. Tools like compression socks or stockings may help improve circulation and reduce swelling. Additionally, make sure you attend regular prenatal check-ups to ensure that any swelling is monitored and managed appropriately by your doctor.

Extra Info: Make sure you familiarize yourself with which sitting positions to avoid during pregnancy to stay safe.

How to Reduce Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the source of this ailment, let’s take a look at how to reduce swollen feet during pregnancy. Learning methods for how to ease swollen feet during pregnancy can help alleviate discomfort and improve overall well-being throughout your journey. Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine is simple and safe. As always, however, consult your doctor before trying any new health routine, especially while pregnant.

Some methods for how to reduce swollen feet during pregnancy are:

  1. Elevating your feet
  2. Applying heat therapy or a cold compress
  3. Getting a massage
  4. Wearing compression socks
  5. Staying active

1. Elevating Your Swollen Feet

Elevating your feet above heart level is one of the simplest and best methods for how to help swollen feet during pregnancy. Some women choose to use pillows or a footstool to prop up their legs while sitting or lying down. This position can help improve circulation and reduce fluid buildup in the lower extremities.

To enhance this method of relieving swollen feet during pregnancy, others have turned to zero gravity recliners. Not only is using a zero gravity recliner as a pregnancy chair good for your physical and mental well-being, but it may help with how to prevent complications during pregnancy, as well. Reclining in these chairs elevates your legs above your heart level while distributing weight evenly along your body.

One of the biggest health benefits of zero gravity position during pregnancy is better blood circulation. This helps alleviate swollen feet during pregnancy and get your back to feeling your best.

2. Applying Heat Therapy or a Cold Compress

Heat therapy may also serve as an effective method for relieving swollen feet during pregnancy. While it’s safe for most pregnant women, it’s important to be careful in applying heat as becoming overheated can be bad for your baby. Heated zero gravity recliners result in a combination of multiple methods for reducing swollen feet during pregnancy, potentially increasing blood circulation throughout your entire body.

Applying a cold compress to swollen areas can also help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort. Use a towel soaked in cold water or a cold gel pack, and apply it to the swollen areas for 15-20 minutes at a time. The cold temperature can constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling. Take care to never apply an ice pack directly to your skin or you risk damaging the tissue near the surface of your skin.

3. Getting a Foot Massage

Gentle massage can help improve circulation and reduce swelling in the feet and ankles. Use a moisturizing lotion or oil to prevent friction and gently massage the affected areas in upward motions towards the heart. This can help push excess fluid out of the tissues and reduce swelling.

You might also consider using zero gravity chairs with vibration or air massage features as a pregnancy chair. Medical experts have agreed that getting a massage or using a massage chair is safe for most pregnant women at any time during pregnancy.

4. Wearing Compression Socks

Compression socks or stockings are another effective method to utilize when learning how to ease swollen feet during pregnancy. They apply gentle pressure to the legs, promoting better circulation. You can choose to wear them during the day, especially when you'll be standing or sitting for long periods.

Make sure you choose compression socks that are specifically designed to be worn during pregnancy to ensure they provide the right level of support.

5. Staying Active

Regular, low-impact activities such as yoga or swimming are safe ways to exercise during pregnancy that can help improve circulation and reduce swelling. Ideally aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, but listen to your body and rest when you need to. Avoid activities that put too much strain on your feet and ankles.

Is Walking Good for Swollen Feet During Pregnancy?

Walking is another low-impact exercise that can be beneficial for reducing swollen feet during pregnancy. It helps improve circulation, which can reduce fluid buildup in your feet and ankles. Remember to always respect your physical limitations, however. If walking causes pain or discomfort, it's best to rest and elevate your feet.

Be sure to wear comfortable, supportive shoes and avoid high heels, which can make swelling worse.

When Should I Be Concerned About Swollen Feet During Pregnancy?

While mild swelling in the feet and ankles is common during pregnancy, there are some instances where it may indicate a more serious problem. You should be concerned if you experience sudden or severe swelling, especially if it's accompanied by other symptoms such as headache, visual disturbances, abdominal pain, or nausea. These could be signs of preeclampsia, a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Additionally, if you notice swelling in one leg but not the other, or if the swelling is associated with pain, redness, or warmth, it could indicate a blood clot and should be looked at by a medical professional right away. If you have any concerns about your swelling, it's always best to contact your healthcare provider for guidance.

Swollen feet during pregnancy are a common discomfort, but there are effective methods to help you understand how to reduce this swelling to alleviate discomfort. By following these pregnancy tips and working with your doctor to come up with a safe plan for treatment, you can help manage swelling and promote a more comfortable pregnancy journey.

Looking for more information about your pregnancy? Check out our guide to managing common pregnancy pains & pregnancy discomfort next.

Disclaimer: This content is not medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare professional when considering implementing changes to your health or workout routines to ensure it’s compatible with your needs.

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