Oh, when ankles become cankles. Third-trimester swelling of calves, ankles, and feet is common even for women who are experiencing easy pregnancies. The pressure of added baby weight, the shifting of an expectant mama's center of gravity, and hormones that cause additional fluid retention can add up to uncomfortable swollen limbs.
Though some swelling happens regardless of what a woman does, there are easy ways to relieve the discomfort. After making sure she isn't showing any additional signs of preeclampsia or pitted edema, here are some tips for reducing the common pregnancy side effect.
- Keep those feet up. Sit down and elevate your feet – above your heart if possible – for 10 to 15 minute intervals throughout the day.
- Don't sit for too long. Keeping off your feet is helpful, but staying seated for more than one to two hours decreases blood circulation. If necessary, take a quick five minute walk to pump up your heart rate.
- Don't cross your legs. When sitting, uncross your legs and rotate your ankles to keep the blood flowing easily.
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