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How Do I Treat Swollen Feet During Pregnancy?

Every pregnancy is different, but is there's one common denominator, it's swollen feet. The majority of pregnant women won't get through their entire pregnancy without dealing with swelling and swollen feet at least once or twice! It's incredibly common, and can be really difficult to manage. If you're dealing with swelling during your pregnancy now, or just want to prepare for what's to come, here's some information that may help.

What causes swelling during pregnancy?

The first thing you need to know is that swelling during pregnancy is incredibly common. According to the American Pregnancy Association, swelling during pregnancy, or edema, is caused by additional blood and fluid your body produces during pregnancy. Edema is most common in the hands, feet, ankles, legs, and face. Your body produces about 50% more blood and fluid when you're pregnant, to help soften your body and prepare your joints and tissues to open during delivery. It can happen at any time during pregnancy, but it's more common in your third trimester and certain scenarios, like when it's hot out, you've been on your feet for a long time, or you've had too much salt or not enough potassium.

What can you do to treat swelling during pregnancy?

Luckily, there are some things you can do to treat swelling during pregnancy. First things first, pay attention to your diet. A diet that's low in potassium or high in sodium can make swelling worse, so up your potassium intake and watch how much salt you eat. You may also want to curb your caffeine intake, as caffeine can increase swelling during pregnancy.

In addition to making some dietary changes, try to avoid being on your feet for long periods of time, and try to minimize how much time you spend outdoors when it's hot out. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that don't constrict your lower legs, ankles, or feet. Rest frequently, and always elevate your feet when you're sitting down. Drink plenty of water, which can help flush your body and reduce water retention. And if you can, spend time in a pool, which can also help reduce water retention.

Should I be worried about swelling during pregnancy?

For the most part, swelling during pregnancy (while uncomfortable) isn't cause for concern. However, if you experience swelling during pregnancy in addition to a headache that won't go away, vision changes, or if the swelling comes on very suddenly and is most prominent in your hands and face, contact your doctor immediately as those could be signs of a serious pregnancy complication called preeclampsia. Also, if one of your legs is noticeably more swollen than the other and you have pain or tenderness in your leg, that may be a sign of a blood clot, so seek medical attention.

How to stop feet from swelling while pregnant:

-Drink plenty of water-Elevate your feet as much as possible-Avoid being on your feet for long periods of time-Avoid wearing clothing or shoes that constrict your lower legs, ankles, and feet-Cut back on your sodium intake-Do some light exercise, like walking or water aerobics-Sleep on your side for optimal circulation

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