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Swelling of ankles and feet

Do your feet seem swollen and puffy? It’s normal to have a moderate amount of swelling, especially during your third trimester. Here’s what you could do to alleviate or avoid it.


Your body retains more fluids during pregnancy. This can lead to swelling in the legs, ankles and feet. However, there are some simple measures you can take to alleviate the swelling, or maybe even stop it from happening in the first place.

5  Ways to alleviate swelling in pregnancy

  1. Avoid standing for too long – sit with your feet up whenever possible; and lie down when you can with your legs slightly elevated too.
  2. Exercise – go on walks or swim in a pool, if you can. Swimming and even standing in water can offer relief because of the water’s natural support. But before you begin any new exercises, make sure you check with your doctor first.
  3. Stretch your legs frequently while sitting – stretch your legs out, heel first, and gently flex your foot to stretch your calf muscles. Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes.
  4. Stay cool – it might help to put cold water on swollen areas for extra relief.
  5. Wear stockings – there are stockings that are made for this specific reason. Ask your doctor about supportive tights or stockings – those you can wear during the day or at night. These can help with the blood flow, and therefore may help reduce swelling.

You shouldn’t drink less during pregnancy

Swelling in pregnancy doesn’t mean you should decrease the amount of fluids you drink. Aim to drink about 10 cups of water (2.3 liters) per day or more if you are active or feel you need it as this does not have a negative impact on your swelling.

What to do if it swells more or faster than usual?

We recommend that you go and see your doctor. Even though it is normal to become swollen during pregnancy, if you feel unusual pain, or that the swelling is happening too suddenly, it is best to consult your doctor.

Another form of swelling in pregnancy is called edema. Edema is swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body’s tissues. It is most common in the hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs. Here are some simple tips on how to alleviate the swelling. We have a dedicated article on edema in pregnancy, if you would like to read that too.

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