Swelling of the feet during pregnancy is a common and normal occurrence. While it can be uncomfortable, it generally does not harm you or your baby.

Why Does Swelling of the Feet Occur During Pregnancy?

Swelling of the feet during pregnancy is due to normal physiological changes, resulting from an increase in blood volume. Swelling can occur at any stage of pregnancy, but it most commonly appears in the third trimester. Between 28 and 42 weeks, blood volume nearly doubles compared to pre-pregnancy levels, but swelling of the feet can occur at any stage of pregnancy.

First Trimester

If you notice that your shoes no longer fit your feet during the first trimester of your pregnancy, it may not necessarily be due to swelling of your feet. The hormone relaxin, responsible for loosening the pelvis in preparation for childbirth, is at its highest level during the early stages of pregnancy. This hormone also affects your feet and can cause swelling.

Second Trimester

You may notice swelling in your feet for the first time as you enter the second trimester. Especially if you stand for long periods, swelling may increase in the evening hours. This is because fluid tends to accumulate in the lowest part of your body throughout the day.

Third Trimester

Swelling becomes more pronounced in the third trimester. In addition to an increase in fluid volume, the weight of your uterus also puts additional strain on your cardiovascular system, slowing circulation and increasing swelling in the feet.

How to Reduce Swelling in Your Feet?

Engage in Regular Exercise.

Regular light exercises such as walking or swimming can increase blood circulation and help reduce swelling. Exercise during pregnancy should be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Also, avoid standing for prolonged periods and periodically elevate your legs above the level of your heart.

Reduce Salt Intake.

Consuming high-sodium foods can cause the body to retain water, increasing swelling.

Stay Hydrated.

If your body doesn’t get enough water, it retains it, leading to increased swelling. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends drinking 8-12 glasses of water a day during pregnancy.

When to See a Doctor?

If you notice sudden swelling in your feet and feel pain, redness, and warmth in the swollen area, consult your doctor. This could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a condition that requires treatment.

In addition to sudden and worsening swelling, symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, and severe headaches could be signs of preeclampsia and should be addressed promptly by a doctor.


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