Swollen feet and legs...any advice?

Hi everyone, hope you're all well! Does anyone have any tips for dealing with swollen feet and legs? I am almost 38 weeks and have had swollen feet for weeks now, but this last week it has spread right up my legs to the extent that I can't bend them. I've been checked over at the hospital as they were concerned about pre-eclampsia and DVT - thankfully it's neither of them but its sooo uncomfortable. My legs are solid and it feels like the skin can't stretch any more, so I'm really not looking forward to this heatwave that's on the way! Does anyone have any suggestions? x

6 Replies

Ohhh not much u can do just feet up everytime u sit down. ..don't stand for too long. ..I've noticed feet swelled up alot today just from driving alot in this heat try putting them in a bowl of cool water but keeping them up is the best thing... and if it gets worse ring ur maternity unit x


Oh no sounds dreadful, I have had swollen legs, feet and ankles for a good few months and am 30 weeks now, I don't recognise myself anymore & hoping I don't swell up anymore. Strangely enough I have found it incredibly hard to lie on my left whilst sleeping due to severe rib pain and either have to opt for the right or find myself rolled onto my back and I know neither of them are really helping the cause.

I Copied from the Baby Centre Site - Hope it helps as I was reading this in actual fact last night

I hope this information helps................All the best :) X

Why are my ankles and feet so swollen?

What you're experiencing is oedema – that's when excess fluid collects in your tissue. It's normal to have a certain amount of swelling during pregnancy because you're retaining more water. Changes in your blood chemistry also cause some fluid to shift into your tissue.

In addition, your growing uterus puts pressure on your pelvic veins and your vena cava (the large vein on the right side of the body that carries blood from your lower limbs back to the heart). The pressure slows the return of blood from your legs, causing it to pool, which forces fluid from your veins into the tissues of your feet and ankles.

For this reason, oedema is most likely to trouble you during the third trimester. It may be particularly severe for women with excessive amniotic fluid or those carrying multiples. Oedema also tends to be worse at the end of the day and during the summer.

After you deliver your baby, the swelling will disappear fairly rapidly as your body eliminates the excess fluid. You may find yourself urinating frequently and sweating a lot in the first days after childbirth..

When should I be concerned about swelling?

A certain amount of oedema is normal in the ankles and feet during pregnancy. You may also have some mild swelling in your hands.

Call your midwife or doctor if you notice swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, or excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles. This could be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious condition.

Also call your caregiver promptly if you notice that one leg is significantly more swollen than the other, especially if you have any pain or tenderness in your calf or thigh. This could signal a blood clot, another serious condition.

What can I do to minimize the puffiness?

You can help relieve the increased pressure on your veins by lying on your side. Since the vena cava is on the right side of your body, resting on your left side works best.

Here are some other tips:

•Put your feet up whenever possible. At work, it helps to keep a stool or pile of books under your desk.

•Don't cross your legs or ankles while sitting.

•Stretch your legs frequently while sitting: Stretch your leg out, heel first, and gently flex your foot to stretch your calf muscles. Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes.

•Take regular breaks from sitting or standing. A short walk every so often will help keep your blood from pooling in your lower extremities.

•Wear comfortable shoes that stretch to accommodate any swelling in your feet.

•Don't wear socks or stockings that have tight bands around the ankles or calves.

•Try waist-high maternity support stockings. Put them on before you get out of bed in the morning so blood doesn't have a chance to pool around your ankles.

•Drink plenty of water. Surprisingly, this helps your body retain less water.

•Exercise regularly, especially by walking, swimming, or riding an exercise bike. Or try a water aerobics class – immersion in water may temporarily help reduce swelling, particularly if the water level is up near your shoulders.

•Eat well, and avoid junk food.

Try not to let the swelling get you down. The sight of your swollen ankles will probably add to your feeling of ungainliness, but oedema is a temporary condition that will pass soon after you give birth.


Save for plenty of walking around and keeping your feet elevated when sitting (plus sleep with a pillow under your legs) pregnancy oedema is a not of a bugger. So long as you are being monitored for pre-eclampsia, and your heart is ok - they're the main things. As pointed out above - it's a mix of fluid retention and lymphoedema (caused by the weight of your uterus and bubba on the lymph drainage of your legs and on your femoral veins)

Delivery is the ultimate treatment!

I remember my friend at med school - her pregnancy retention was horrendous! We nicknamed her bump 'oedema'!


I definitely feel your pain. My other half massages my feet & ankles whenever he gets a chance. I think it really helps bring the swelling down instantly. I also try to wear supportive shoes which is hard since I've outgrown most of mine.

Drinking plenty of water also helps.

Sending you all the best.


I've got puffy feet. Just had them since I reached 37 weeks. I find its when I've Ben on my feet for too long. It's horrible because no shoes fit nod I'm living in flip flops. Sometimes they wont even go on. My legs at times tighten up too gain when ive been standing too long. I find that scary. I'm lucky cos my blood pressure is ok. Just carrying fluid.


Thanks for all the replies! I'm doing everything I'm supposed to - drinking loads of water, lying on my side, keeping my feet raised (although I find this hurts my back). I've tried putting them in cold water and also wrapping them in cabbage leaves - I read that somewhere but that didn't work either! I am not very mobile at the minute due to SPD and bursitis in my hip, so hobbling around on crutches probably isn't helping. Just over two weeks to go but this little wriggler isn't showing any signs of moving anywhere soon! Hope you lovely ladies are all keeping well :) xx


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