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     Leg Swelling in Pregnancy

    Swollen Legs

    Leg Swelling in Pregnancy

    Updated on 19 December 2022

    Pregnancies are often hard on women, and they have to undergo several complications during this period. One such complication is leg swelling during pregnancy. A woman’s body undergoes several changes and an increase in body weight. This causes strain on the legs, leading to swelling in the feet during pregnancy.

    Pregnancy Swelling in Legs

    One can experience swelling in their feet and fingers during pregnancy. Leg swelling in pregnancy usually occurs when a pregnant woman's body holds more water than usual. When the baby grows, the weight of the uterus tends to increase. The increased weight then puts pressure on the feet and legs of women. Furthermore, it can lead to reduced blood circulation, increasing the fluid buildup in the body, which causes swelling in the feet and legs.

    What can help to minimise swelling?

    Feet swelling in pregnancy is common, and one cannot get rid of it instantly. However, there are certain ways by which women can minimise this swelling. Tips that can help minimise pregnancy swelling in the legs are as follows:

    1. Avoid standing for long

    Pregnant women should avoid standing for long as it can increase pressure on their feet. They should find time to sit and relax, and they should keep their feet up when relaxing. One can also rotate their feet gently at the ankles and stretch their calf muscles by flexing the feet. Lying down with feet elevated can also help them reduce the pain.

    2. Use waist-high compression stockings

    Compression stockings are the best accessory that women can use to minimise leg swelling during pregnancy. One should wear supportive tights and stockings all day to relieve themselves of swelling. It is to be noted that one should avoid knee-high stockings as they can worsen the swelling.

    3. Do some exercise

    Movement in the body is necessary to keep leg swellings in check. One should take short walks and do occasional cycling to keep their muscles engaged. A few laps of swimming in a pool can also help minimise swellings. In addition, a pregnant woman can do some foot exercises to relieve the swelling in her legs.

    4. Sleep on the left side

    A woman can transfer the pressure from the large vein by sleeping on the left side of the bed, improving blood circulation in their feet. This vein carries blood from the lower part of the body to the heart. Using a pillow to take off the pressure, one can also keep their feet elevated.

    5. Drink water

    By increasing the water intake in their body, women can get rid of excess fluid. The excess water will replace these fluids causing swelling, eventually reducing the swelling in feet.

    6. Cut down sodium

    Cutting down sodium is the best way to remove the excess fluid from the body. And to do this, one should avoid canned or processed food. One should replace the salt in their diet with other alternatives such as rosemary, oregano, and thyme.

    7. Say no to caffeine

    Caffeine is a diuretic substance, meaning that it causes frequent urination. This can signal the body needs to hold on to the fluids, worsening swellings. One can try decaf coffee or replace it with herbal tea for a much-needed energy boost.

    Exercises for Foot

    Foot exercise can help women minimise leg swelling during pregnancy. It can increase blood circulation in the feet. Some feet exercises that women can do to relieve themselves of foot swelling are -

    • A pregnant woman needs to flex their feet up and down to bend and stretch them. They need to repeat this motion thirty times on each foot.

    • Circularly move the feet and make small circles with the feet. They should repeat this motion eight times clockwise and anti-clockwise, respectively, for better results.

    What causes this to happen, anyway?

    Leg swelling during pregnancy is a normal thing, and one should get worried too much about it. One of the primary reasons for sweeping can be the generation of extra fluids in the body to support the growth of the fetus. The reason for leg swelling can vary from trimester to trimester.

    • The rapid increase in progesterone levels in the first trimester can lead to abdominal bloating. This can also cause slight puffiness in the feet, hands, and face.

    • During the second trimester, there is a rise in the volume of blood and fluids in the body to support the baby. This puts pressure on the feet, decreasing blood circulation and then swelling.

    • The third trimester is when the size of the uterus increases significantly, causing swelling in the feet.

    In addition to these, some other reasons that can cause swelling in feet during pregnancy are imbalances in diet, increased caffeine intake, dehydration, and hot weather.

    So this was everything a woman needs to know about leg swelling during pregnancy. They can remember all the things that lead to leg swelling and follow the tips mentioned above to minimise it.

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