There are several changes that occur during pregnancy that cause your feet to swell.

Here are some of these changes:

  1. Firstly, one of the earliest changes is that your circulating blood volume increases by around 50% during pregnancy. This means that your heart has to work harder and there is more load on your veins and blood vessels to get blood away from your legs and back towards your heart, causing swelling.
  2. Secondly, a major hormone in pregnancy is progesterone. This hormone makes the blood vessels more elastic and leaky, naturally increasing the fluid inside the legs and away from the blood vessels.
  3. Thirdly, our natural way to get rid of fluid from the legs is for our leg muscles, especially the calf muscles to contract as we walk to push fluid back towards our heart. This is harder during pregnancy because not only is the load on these muscles higher with more blood to pump, but you start to move less and your body becomes heavier during pregnancy increasing the load on these muscles further.

So what can you do?

  1. Work on your leg and calf strength. It is never too early or too late to start during pregnancy, but the earlier the better. Making the muscles stronger  means that they can cope better with the increased fluid load on the legs.
  2. When able to, take short breaks with the legs raised. Sitting or lying on your side with your legs elevated allows gravity to naturally take fluid away from your legs and back towards your heart.
  3. Do not avoid drinking water to reduce fluid. It is important to remain hydrated because it affects your ability to function and stay alert. Reducing your fluid intake to reduce swelling can make you dehydrated, more fatigued and you will struggle to get on with your day.

Are you experiencing swollen feet? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • I didn’t have this problem thankfully.


  • I found keeping active (light activity like prenatal yoga) helped to keep the welling down. If only there was a cure for the dreaded sore pregnancy back


  • My feet were so sore with each pregnancy and ever since then each Summer they blow up like balloons and get sore. Ive seen the Doc about them several times and all they say i to put my feet up but if I did what they say I would never get anything done :(


  • Great info to know..thanks for sharing.


  • I had horrid swollen feet with my last two pregnancies. I’m dreading it again this time. Hopefully these tips will help.


  • Thanks for the tips – pity the medics don’t tell you these facts when you are pregnant.


  • I find staying on my feet all day and drinking water stops them from swelling. I only have swelling when I sit for a while like in the evenings watching tv.


  • My feet didn’t swell until I was in labour – and then boy did they swell!! They were huge!! But went down fairly quickly after I gave birth (a few days)


  • I struggled to wear my shoes when pregnant due to swollen feet. I always thought it was fluid retention and nothing too serious, unless other things cropped up to accompany them


  • I had terribly swollen feet and calves when pregnant with my twins. Nothing seemed to help me, but these are good tips as a place to start.?


  • I know a Mum who had swollen ankles and feet. At the same time she developed cramps in her legs. She rested part of the time and walked for short walks each day as she had other toddlers to keep amused. When they had their afternoon sleep for a couple of hours. She went to bed with her feet and legs raised by pillows


  • I had swollen feet during my last month of pregnancy. The point to continue drinking is really important.


  • Fortunately I didn’t have swollen feet during pregnancy, but this is useful information for women who are going through this.


  • This would have been useful to know.


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