Understanding why Feet and Legs Swell during Pregnancy

It is very common during pregnancy to have swollen legs and feet, most women will experience it at least part of the time. There are different reasons behind this, and there are a number of things you can do to relieve the problem.

When a woman is pregnant, the body will change a lot to cope with the task at hand, as well as the birth. One way of doing this is to produce more fluids. Not only will you produce more fluids, but the body tends to retain the fluids more as well. This, in turn, can lead to swollen legs and feet.

As the pregnancy progresses, the uterus will grow larger and put pressure on the veins in the legs. This will impede a proper blood-flow, resulting in swollen legs. Hormones also play a role in making your legs and feet swell.

Severe swelling, or swelling in only one leg, could be signs of serious problems and should be treated immediately by a doctor. Preeclampsia or blood clot could be the reason. Of course, there are more signs of these serious conditions to take into consideration, but always check with your doctor to be sure.

There is a lot you can do to help yourself be more comfortable, and to avoid a lot of the swelling, or edema as it is called.

-Let your legs rest.

Standing for longer periods of time is not advisable. Try to sit down, lying down is even better, putting your feet up. Make sure the blood can flow freely, do not cross you legs at the ankles. When lying down it is recommended to lie on your left side, since the vein carrying blood back to the heart from the legs (the vena cava) is on the right side of the body.

-Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Compression stockings will give support to your legs, helping the blood to flow well. If you have to stand or walk a lot while pregnant, this could be a good help. Some women find it best to put them on before getting up in the morning, before the legs start swelling. Use soft shoes which will stretch to allow space for the feet when swollen and avoid socks with tight elastics.

-Get daily exercise.

Exercise is very important during pregnancy. Not only does it make your blood circulate, it also strengthens your joints and muscles. Swimming or walking are exercises that most women can cope with even in the latter part of pregnancy.

-Drink plenty of fluids.

Strangely enough, drinking fluids will help the body rid itself of excessive fluids. It is recommended to drink a lot during pregnancy, also for other reasons. Water is the best, as well as some fruit juices. Stay away from drinks containing caffeine which tend to make the body retain the fluids.

Some swelling of legs and feet is normal during pregnancy. If it is not exaggerated there is no need to be worried. Following the above suggestions will help you cope well, and minimize the discomfort.