Swollen feet during pregnancy: what to do?

Like the legs, the feet tend to double in size, especially at the end of pregnancy due in particular to blood and lymphatic circulation problems. How to ease the discomfort and successfully fit into your shoes? Information and advice from specialists at the Gynécée house.

  Swollen feet during pregnancy: what to do?

Why do feet swell during pregnancy?

' There are over 600 nodes of small and larger diameters throughout the body; particularly in the groin, above the pubis, under the armpits and at the level of the neck but also at the base of the toes, ankles, behind the knees, etc. They belong to lymphatic system and play a major role in the immune system. Each node filters the lymph. During pregnancy, the extremities of the body are the most affected and the venous return is doing less well . We walk by carrying out different supports at the level of the arch of the foot. The lymph, which only rises with movement and breathing, ends up accumulating upstream of the lymph nodes which gradually become engorged. And the feet swell... 'explains Emmanuelle Trévalinet, draining massage practitioner at the Gynécée home.

What is the cause of this phenomenon?

' It is a combination of different factors. In addition to the lymphatic problem mentioned above, them pregnant women naturally retain more water from the start of pregnancy to be able to produce a larger volume of blood needed for the baby. The blood vessels are more distended and the growth of the uterus creates downward pressure which prevents proper blood flow from the lower body to the heart. It is especially during the third trimester that many women have swollen feet, ankles and hands due to Water retention . These circulation problems can worsen after a first pregnancy which has already weakened the vessels. Indeed, the baby is generally carried lower, the ligaments of the abdomen (which hold the uterus) having already been stretched by the first pregnancy. But the problem of venous insufficiency is also largely hereditary notes Oriane Hulin, Pilates teacher and pre and post natal massage practitioner at Maison Gynécée.

What are the symptoms ?

The feet swell in a sometimes significant way preventing the wearing of the usual shoes. The skin is taut and shiny and pressing the area for a few minutes promotes the appearance of a hollow.

How to reduce foot swelling during pregnancy?

' Standing well and breathing well are the keys . You have to start by correcting the posture: be careful not to arch your back because this closes the fold of the groin and increases circulation problems. If the posture is arched or packed, the movement of the diaphragm is hampered. Deep 'diaphragm' breathing stimulates circulation. To reduce swelling you can:

  • elevate your feet when lying or sitting
  • avoid crossing your legs
  • wear loose clothing
  • raise the feet of the bed (not cushions on the bottom of the mattress because it breaks at the ankles)
  • doing suitable physical exercises (walking, swimming, Pilates, fusion, etc.)
  • do lymphatic massage
  • Apply creams suitable for pregnant women
  • Plan cold showers going up the jet from the toes to the groin ', emphasizes Emmanuelle Trévalinet,

Is physical activity recommended and if so, which?

' Physical activities such as walking, Pilates or yoga are recommended. They stimulate the legs and stimulate blood circulation. Standing or lying posture exercises with the legs in the air, or even squats can improve venous return. Here are some examples of exercises:

  • Walk one foot in front of the other by unrolling the foot, as if walking on an imaginary beam
  • One foot on a chair placed next to a wall, hold the wall for more balance then lift and lower the heel from the ground
  • Raise your heels while standing up straight
  • Lying on your back with your knees bent, raise one leg toward the ceiling and do toe curls and small ankle circles back and forth.
  • Stretch the psoas (muscle that extends on either side of the lumbar vertebrae) and quadriceps ', explains Ina Grodner, fitness coach at Maison Gynécée.

How to wear shoes when your feet swell during pregnancy?

' To put on shoes, in summer, open shoes with a small wedge heel remain the most appropriate. In case of weak ankles, it is necessary to privilege the flat to reduce the risk of sprain which would accentuate the swelling… These advices are also valid for the hands. As soon as the fingers swell, the rings must be removed! “said Oriane Hulin.

Source journaldesfemmes.fr