Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy

Average
5
Rating : 12345
Rate This Article : 1 2 3 4 5
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

About

Mild swelling of feet is usually considered to be normal during pregnancy and subsides within few weeks after delivery. Sudden and severe swelling could be an indication of an underlying serious problem, which requires prompt medical treatment.

Swelling of ankles and feet is a common problem during the last trimester or end of pregnancy. One of the reasons for this is an increase in fluid production and retention during pregnancy. Secondly, the enlarged uterus prevents the free flow of venous blood from the legs into the heart. This results in accumulation of fluid in the ankles and feet, that causes the swelling.

Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy / Pregnancy and Swollen Ankles

Mild swelling is usually considered to be normal during pregnancy and subsides within few weeks after delivery. Sudden and severe swelling, on the other hand, could be an indication of an underlying serious problem, which requires prompt medical treatment.

Causes of Ankle Swelling during Pregnancy

The major cause of swollen ankles during pregnancy is an increase in fluid production and retention. The excessive fluids are necessary to support and nourish the fetus, prepare the pelvic joints and other related tissues for delivery, and make up for the blood loss during the delivery. Accumulation of these fluids in the lower limbs results in edema.

Another factor that causes ankle swelling is the increased pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvis due to fetal growth in the uterus. The large uterus puts pressure on the inferior vena cava, the vein which carries blood from the lower half of the body to the heart. This pressure slows down the blood circulation, causing the blood to pool in the legs, resulting in fluid accumulation in the tissues of the feet and ankles.

Causes of Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy: Uterus

The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy like changes in estrogen, progesterone, and other hormonal levels contribute to ankle swelling.

Other minor factors which might contribute to swollen ankles during pregnancy are-

► Hot and humid climate

► Inadequate potassium in the diet

► Excessive consumption of salt and caffeine

► Sitting, standing or walking for a long period of time

Serious Causes of Ankle Swelling during Pregnancy

Certain causes of sudden and severe ankle swelling during pregnancy, which are considered to be dangerous and require immediate medical attention, are:

Preeclampsia and eclampsia: Preeclampsia is a condition where a pregnant woman suffers from high blood pressure, fluid retention and is prone to seizures. The presence of seizures in such a patient is referred to as eclampsia. Besides sudden and severe swelling of ankles, other signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include severe headache, blurred vision, rapid weight gain, and vomiting. Women at risk are the ones aged more than 40 years or below 20 years. Family history and obesity are some of the other risk factors for preeclampsia.

Causes of Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy: Preeclampsia

Swelling in only one leg accompanied by pain and tenderness in the calf or thigh muscles also requires prompt evaluation and treatment as it could be because of a blood clot in the deep veins. This clot could travel to vital organs like the heart or the brain with serious consequences.

Other underlying medical conditions like heart or kidney disease, which could cause swelling of the feet, may have to be ruled out in some women.

Causes of Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy: Kidney Disease

Symptoms and Signs of Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy

The swelling of the ankles and the feet may result in-

A feeling of tightness around the feet

Shininess of the skin

Warmth of the swollen feet

Swelling associated with redness, pain, red streaking, weakening of the skin and bruising may be due to a serious medical problem and should be looked into promptly.

Prevention and Treatment of Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy

Swelling of feet during pregnancy can be prevented to some extent by adopting the following practices-

Avoid standing for long periods of time

Relax or rest your feet as often as possible while walking

Use comfortable footwear. Use of supportive stockings, socks or tights may be advised in some cases.

Avoid tight clothing

Lie down with your legs elevated with the help of pillows

Sleep on your left side. This posture helps reduce the pressure on the inferior vena cava and improves circulation

Prevention and Treatment of Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy: Sleep Position

Regular foot exercises help improve the blood circulation in the feet

Drink plenty of fluids, usually 8-10 cups of fluids daily

Avoid soft drinks and caffeine during pregnancy

Reduce intake of salt/sodium in your diet

Use cold water compresses on the swollen feet and ankles

Foot massage helps improve blood circulation

Mothers with certain conditions like diabetes should check their feet regularly

Prevention and Treatment of Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy: Diabetes

Do you wish to consult a Obstetricician and Gynaecologist (OB/GYN) for your problem?

Yes  No

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

Related Links

Show More Related Topics

Health Topics A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Medindia Health Topics Search

Pregnancy

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Find a Doctor

Doctor Search

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

Facebook