Is Swelling in Pregnancy Normal?
PREGNANCY HEALTH: Many women, at least 40 per cent, tend to get swollen ankles, feet and hands during the latter months of pregnancy.
This is also known as oedema or water retention and may be caused by pregnancy hormones, increased blood pressure, extra fluid circulating around your body and any extra pounds putting pressure on the lower limbs. Swelling can also occur if you stand for long periods, particularly during hot weather, when fluid tends to collect in your feet and legs.
You may find that avoiding standing or sitting in the same position for long periods, resting with your feet raised whenever possible, regular exercise and foot exercises where you turn your feet in circles (to improve circulation) may help to relieve swelling.
Other suggestions to relieve swelling include:
- Wearing low-heeled shoes and support tights or socks
- Avoiding salty food
- Avoiding clothes that restrict circulation to your legs may also be useful
- Try to avoid travelling with bent knees over long periods of time (eg flying in cramped conditions). If flying, maintain good levels of hydration and get up and walk around the aircraft at least once per hour.
If you suffer from noticeable and consistent puffiness of the wrists, hands, ankles, feet and face, contact your GP or midwife as this may be a sign of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia.