What can I do about my ankles and feet swelling during pregnancy?

Our experts answer your pregnancy questions

Swollen feet
What you’re seeing is your body retaining fluid. When you’re pregnant, your body is producing a lot more fluid to circulate to the baby. You can have swelling in your face and hands, too, but thanks to gravity, it’s more likely to end up down at your feet.

I usually recommend women increase their fluid intake, which sounds crazy. But it can help jump start your kidneys and get rid of some of that water weight. Make sure to drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day.

Avoid those really salty things like pretzels and popcorn. Salty things will make you retain water. Don’t avoid salt, because all women need salt in their diet. Just avoid overly salty things. You shouldn’t be getting more than 2,000 milligrams a day.

I also recommend sitting with your feet elevated for 20 minutes three times a day. You can do it for an hour if you want, but you may not have that time. Sitting in a recliner is good. The best is if you can sit with your feet above your heart.

You may have read advice to wear compression socks or support stockings. For women who are very uncomfortable with swelling or who are on their feet all day, try full pantyhose instead, because they don’t have tight bands around your calves. But it’s hard to recommend stockings when the weather is so warm!

Mary Johnson, certified nurse-midwife
Fairview Clinics – Burnsville
Fairview Clinics – Bloomington, Oxboro
Fairview Clinics – Savage

To learn more:
Make an appointment with a midwife or OB doctor or book a tour at The Birthplace.


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