You may have heard the stories about how during pregnancy, many parts of your body begin to show swelling. Some people see it happen gradually, but for others, it can shock them to see “clown feet” at the end of a long day of standing. Don’t worry – it’s a very common occurrence for those who are beyond week 20 of their pregnancy and the swelling can last until the end of the pregnancy.
Swelling, or edema, happens because your body is changing to allow for expansion as the pregnancy continues. The body naturally begins to retain more fluid, but increased blood flow and pressure makes the swelling more noticeable. While most parts of your body, including hands, breasts, ankles, and feet will show signs of swelling, you may experience it the most in the lower half of the body. This is because the veins are constricted near the uterus and pelvic area as your baby grows and the return flow is slightly limited.
It is a good idea to include your podiatrist as part of your pregnancy care team. Our team at Fords Foot and Ankle Care will do their best to care for your feet and ankles during your pregnancy and let you know if you need to seek additional medical care.
When to pay close attention
Due to your increased weight, the arches in your feet can flatten out and your shoe size will increase, maybe even by a full size. You may change the way you walk and put strain on different parts of the feet and ankles. You will be tempted to wear sandals and flip-flops as they allow room for growth, but this can also pose a risk for foot issues due to poor footwear support.
Furthermore, while swelling is normal when pregnant, take note of excessive swelling on just one leg, as this may be a sign of a blood clot. Excessive overall swelling, especially in the face and hands may also indicate a complication in the pregnancy.
If you are concerned about excessive swelling in your feet or ankles during your pregnancy, make an appointment with our board-certified foot and ankle doctor, Dr. Carl Ingrassia at our Fords, NJ office. He will help you manage pregnancy related foot and ankle swelling and do his utmost to exceed your care expectations.