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Physical complications during pregnancy are common and to some degree are to be expected. Swollen ankles and feet (edema) occur in pregnancy because of the increased weight load.

Holding onto more fluid during pregnancy places pressure on your pelvis and can slow blood circulation in the area. This particularly affects lower limbs, extenuating down into the ankles and feet.

Edema Explained 

Swelling tends to get worse day by day, being on your feet and being active will contribute to edema. During heatwaves or a spell of warmer weather, edema can intensify.

After waking up or a period of elevating your lower limbs, swelling can subside and a normal sensation can return to skin and surrounding areas.

Typically edema is nothing too serious or anything to be concerned about; however it is important to keep an eye on your symptoms. A headache or blurry vision can be signs of Preeclampsia (pregnancy-specific high blood pressure) and pain, or greater swelling in one limb than the other can be a signal of a blood clot. Being aware of the subtle differences in symptoms is imperative and contacting a medical professional is advised.

First time expectant mothers will get lots of different and sometimes conflicting advice. From socialising in mothers clubs to visiting obstetricians, advice or tips on how to manage this type of complication can vary greatly.

Tips and Tricks 

  • Raise those feet: elevating your feet can increase blood flow and reduce swelling, and the best part is, being pregnant means no one can tell you off for sitting down and relaxing.
  • Wear comfy, loose fitting shoes: who needs to wear those stilettos anyway, they can wait to your feeling fantastic after the whole baby thing. Find some sandals, loose fitting boots or really comfy runners and own that look very proudly. It will help you so much in the next few months.
  • Exercise: pregnancy exercises have a range of benefits – yoga, Pilates, walking, swimming and body resistance exercises can improve strength, cardio vascular health and blood circulation. Take some great pics, hashtag and maybe even start a pregnancy blog. Why not?
  • Hydrate and maintain a balanced diet: drinking water during pregnancy is crucial not only for your fetus but for your own health, helping with digestion and more importantly promoting circulation and assisting in the management and prevention of edema. A well balanced diet supports general health, supporting everyday bodily functions. Maybe you can add some food pics to your blog and social media page! #pregnantfit.
  • Wear stylish comfy fitting clothes: who says tight jeans are the most fashionable. Do some research, find clothes that you love (keep yourself happy), but make sure they are comfy, flowing and preferably loose fitting. Pregnancy is as much about dominating the look as it is delivering a happy, healthy baby!

“Elevate, hydrate and alleviate”

Edema does unfortunately affect between 60% and 80% of pregnant women, usually in the third trimester.

Swollen feet and ankles can be treated by a health professional and massage can aid immensely.  Massage has proven circulation benefits, but more importantly for all those pregnant ladies, the relaxation factor outweighs all.

There are many things to be concerned about during pregnancy, edema and swelling of the lower limbs shouldn’t be one of them. Simple effective management will rid you of the pain and inflammation. So start worrying about how many baby outfits you have and worry a little less about sore ankles.

For more information on pregnancy related conditions or to book an appointment contact us on (03) 9369 9766

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