Ankle Swelling During Pregnancy

Ankle-swelling is common among women during pregnancy. There are many possible causes of ankle-swelling.    

One reason is that the body produces and retains more fluid when pregnant. Another reason is that the your growing uterus puts pressure on your veins which hampers blood flow back to the heart, leading to swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.

Ankle-swelling usually goes away after giving birth. Meanwhile, below are a few things you can do to reduce the swelling:

Keep off your feet

Avoid staying on your feet as much as possible. Do not sit with your feet on the floor. Avoid crossing your legs. Sit with your feet up whenever you can. Rotate your legs occasionally at the ankles. Your best bet is to lie down with your legs elevated.

Wear loose clothing

Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes and accessories, such as pants with cuffs or anklets.

Sleep on your side

Sleeping on your side is the most comfy sleeping position for pregnant women. It also helps to raise your legs slightly with pillows.

Keep cool

Heat can make swelling during pregnancy worse. It helps to apply cold-water compresses to affected areas.

Soak in large tub or pool

The water pressure may help reduce swelling.

Add physical activity to your daily routine such as daily walks, or laps in a pool.

Though mild ankle and foot swelling during pregnancy is common, extreme swelling may be a sign of an underlying serious condition. See your doctor when:

  • You have severe or sudden swelling.
  • You have swelling in only one leg.

These two could be a sign of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is "a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine." [www.preeclampsia.org] Other symptoms of preeclampsia include severe headaches, blurred vision and rapid weight gain.

Swelling in only one leg – particularly if it comes with pain or tenderness in the calf or thigh – could be a sign of a blood clot.

Source: Mayo Clinic