Give Swollen Ankles The Boot!
Did you know that up to 75% of pregnant women experience swollen ankles, or in medical terms – edema during their pregnancy? So as your dealing with morning sickness, a lack of clothing options and a renewed interest in ice-cream and jelly, it’s frustrating to know that there is a good chance your shoes won’t fit either.
As with the majority of pregnancy symptoms, fluctuating hormones are partially to blame. In addition to the substantial increase in blood volume, which is necessary to accomodate your ever growing baby, the body produces extra fluids which can collect and pool in your tissue, resulting in edema and the swelling of your extremities such as your feet, ankles, legs, hands and fingers. External influences such as the time of day, the temperature and your activity level can also influence how your body handles the increase in fluid. It’s not uncommon after a particularly hot day to notice obvious swelling and discomfort.
What to do!
While we understand that edema is quite a common pregnancy symptom, if accompanied by high blood pressure, extreme weight gain and protein-rich urine it can also signal a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication called pre-eclampsia. We recommend consulting with you healthcare provider if you develop any new symptoms in all instances. For the general population, where swelling and edema is a normal reaction to pregnancy, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you find a little relief:
Reduce your salt intake: A diet rich in sodium can certainly contribute to swelling and fluid retention. A diet rich in protein, vegetables and essential minerals will support a healthier pregnancy, but if those cravings for salt encrusted treats are too tempting, why not discuss with your GP how to best decrease your sodium intake beyond throwing out the salt shaker.
Elevate: In as far as possible try to keep off your feet for extended periods of time. If you are running (or hobbling as the case maybe) after children or are working, support your feet with shoes such as the Fitflop range, that will offer support and increased circulation or try popping a Scholl Insole into your shoes for additional comfort and relief. However when you are sitting, be sure to elevate your feet to reduce pressure and prevent blood from pooling in your lower extremities causing edema.
Stay Hydrated: Many pregnancy woes can be reduced with a healthy H20 intake and none more so than edema. Ensuring you are well hydrated will work to flush out sodium and decrease swelling and discomfort, it is recommended that you drink between 10-12, 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
Exercise: Be sure to consult with your doctor or midwife before embarking on any exercise during pregnancy, but gentle pregnancy-appropriate workouts such as walking will keep your blood flowing and prevent swelling and fluid retention in your feet and ankles.
Supportive footwear: It may be hard, but it’s time to stash the stilettos away, pop on supportive footwear and maybe a pair of support hose while you’re at it! Scholl offer supportive options such as Scholl Insoles and Scholl Flight Socks which can aid blood circulation and alleviate swelling, pain and discomfort.