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Swollen Ankles, Feet and Fingers during Pregnancy

Swelling during pregnancy is very common and is likely to happen gradually as you advance through pregnancy. This swelling is the results of water retention.

When Should I be concerned about swelling during pregnancy?

You should be wary of sudden swelling of the face, feet, ankles and fingers caused by fluid retention as this is a sign of pre-eclampsia.

Other symptoms of pre-eclampsia includes:

  • High blood pressure

  • Headaches

  • Vomiting

  • Vision disturbances such as blurred vision

If you present with this sudden symptoms you should seek medical advices from your GP or your midwife.

What causes fluid retention in pregnancy?

During pregnancy, your blood volume and fluids increase by about 50% in your body. As you progress through your pregnancy the weight of the baby might impaired the venous return which contribute to swelling in your lower extremities.

Other factors that might contribute to water retention:

  • Not drinking enough water

  • Hot weather

  • Being on your feet for a long time

  • Coffee intake

  • Lack of exercises

How do I get rid of water retention during pregnancy?

  • Reduced your sodium (salt) intake

Having a balanced diet during your pregnancy is important. Salt intake will increase water retention in your body. You should avoid any ready meal food or tin/can food as they contain a high volume of sodium.

  • Reduce your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a natural diuretics, this will cause your body to holds onto water. If you are having a coffee you should remember to drink some water with it to balance the effect of the caffeine on your body.

  • Drink plenty of water

Keeping hydrated is one of the key to reduce any water retention and swelling (oedema) in your legs, ankles and feet. When your body is dehydrated, the natural mechanism is to holds onto water, therefore keeping your water intake regulars will promote your body to detoxify and reduce the swelling to a minimum.

  • Exercise

Make sure to have a daily activity to keep mobile but also to promote your blood flow and venous return. This will help your body to process the excess of water. Any gentle exercise such as swimming, yoga, walking will help your circulation.

  • Lymphatic drainage

Lymphatic drainage is a type of massage that help and support your Lymphatic system which is responsible of processing water. Your osteopath or your physiotherapist can help you out with that. This is a gentle techniques and is safe during pregnancy.

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes

Comfortable shoes and loose clothes will help reduce swelling in your lower extremities. If high heels and tight fitting seem tempting, these clothes will actually increase any water retention and therefore swelling.

For more information about how osteopathy and physiotherapy can help you, contact us or follow us on Instagram and Facebook

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