Giving birth is one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences in a mother’s life. However, every mum can agree that the nine months beforehand are some of the most difficult to date. In less than a year, pregnant women experience a multitude of extreme body changes all at once. On top of morning sickness, stretch marks, mood swings, frequent urination, lack of sleep, and painful cramps, everything just gets bigger. As your belly grows in tandem with your baby, your feet and ankles may also swell. This swelling, also called edema, is natural and common among pregnant women.
Causes of Edema
While pregnant, your body produces approximately 50 percent more blood and other fluids to support both you and your growing baby. This excess of fluid ends up collecting in your tissues. In addition, your growing uterus puts pressure on your pelvic veins and vena cava, which is the large vein responsible for returning blood from your lower limbs to your heart. Without any means of transport away from your lower body, the extra blood pools in your feet and ankles. As a result, this area swells like a balloon filled with water.
How to Treat Edema
There are many ways you can reduce feet and ankle swelling during pregnancy.
- Elevate your legs – Whenever possible, use gravity to your advantage by placing a stool or stack of books under your feet while sitting.
- Avoid long periods of sitting or standing – Short walks every hour or so will keep blood from collecting in your lower limbs.
- Drink plenty of water – This may sound counterproductive, but drinking lots of water helps your body retain less of it.
- Wear comfortable shoes – Make sure your footwear will stretch to accommodate any swelling.
- Limit sodium intake – Consume salt in moderation, but don’t entirely cut it out of your diet.
- Wear compression socks – Special compression socks are one of the best methods of reducing and preventing edema.
How Compression Socks Work
Compression socks are extremely effective in reducing swelling. If you were to tightly hold a balloon and try to fill it with water, it could not expand as much as an unrestricted balloon might. Compression socks work the same way with your feet and ankles. By compressing your feet and ankles, these socks allow less room for excess fluids to pool in your tissues. This also makes it easier for your body to pump any fluid away. By limiting how much fluid gets to your feet in the first place, the socks take care of some of the heavy lifting that your impaired veins can’t.
Thermoskin Compression Socks
The Walk-On Ankle Socks by Thermoskin are great for reducing foot and ankle swelling. With medical grade compression zones, these socks prevent extra fluids from collecting in your lower limbs. They also provide much-needed foot support, ideal for pregnant women carrying extra weight. Moisture-wicking material enhances breathability and prevents odour and bacteria. Even while spending a whole day on your feet, the soft fabric and extra cushioning at the ball of the foot provides additional comfort. You can choose between five sizes (from XS to XL) and two levels of compression (moderate at 15-20mmhg, or firm at 20-30mmhg). As always, talk to your physician to see if compression socks are right for you and before increasing the compression.
Have you ever tried compression socks to relieve swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy? How did it work? Tell us in the comments below!