What to do for Swollen Feet after Pregnancy?

(January 18, 2013)

Your body retains extra fluids during pregnancy. Much of the weight gain during pregnancy can be attributed to this fluid retention. The extra fluid helps the tissues handle the baby's growth. It also helps prepare the pelvic area for labor and delivery of the baby. This excess water retention is the main cause of swollen feet and ankles after pregnancy. This swelling, known as 'edema', gradually recedes after childbirth as your body sheds the excess fluid.

During late pregnancy, the enlarged uterus exerts pressure on the veins supplying blood to your legs and feet. This affects the flow of blood to your feet and ankles and causes even more fluid to accumulate in there.  Severe cases of swollen feet after pregnancy may require treatment, and you should contact your physician in this regard. Else you can try these simple remedies to relieve swollen feet after pregnancy.

  • Avoid standing for long periods of time. This will take the pressure off your veins. If you must stand for long, try walking about. It will help blood circulation.
  • Avoid sitting with your feet on the floor for extended periods of time. Instead, when sitting down, try propping your feet up on a low stool. Do not cross your legs when you sit.
  • While sleeping, put a couple of pillows under your feet so that your legs remain raised. Lying on your side will help improve blood circulation and reduce the swelling.
  • Heat will aggravate the problem, so try and stay cool.
  • Mild exercises like walking and swimming will also help reduce the swelling.
  • Drink lots of water, although it may seem at odds with common sense. It will help your body shed fluid.
  • Having a healthy diet is essential. Eat food with less salt and make sure you are getting adequate proteins. Less protein in your diet can cause your body to retain extra fluid.

Do not try any OTC medicine to reduce the swelling without first consulting your physician.

Mild swelling of the legs, feet and ankles are normal after childbirth and should recede within two weeks of childbirth. If the swelling is severe or sudden, or if it occurs around your eyes or hands, then you need to contact your physician as this could be a symptom of 'preeclampsia'. Preeclampsia causes an increase in blood pressure and fluid retention. Other symptoms of preeclampsia include severe headaches, blurred vision, severe abdominal pain and dizziness.

Submitted by N H on January 18, 2013 at 06:11

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