Posted by Nicole on 26th August 2011

Reducing Ankle Swelling (Pedal Edema) During Pregnancy

Left Or Right Ankle Swelling During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the amount of blood being circulated throughout the body is increased by 50 percent, as compared to pre-pregnancy states. This is the body’s attempt to supply both the mother and the growing fetus of essential oxygen needs. However, not all fluids are efficiently delivered and circulated. Because of compression, some volumes of fluid are forced into the extremities. Normal swelling can affect the face, hands, legs, feet, and ankles.

Ankle swelling is also known as pedal edema. Pregnant women commonly experience some swelling of left and right ankles and feet, which are usually observed at the end of the day.

These women often complain that they find it difficult to wear their shoes comfortably. When protienuria or excretion of protein in the urine, and hypertension are absent, this type of ankle swelling can be considered normal. This event should be expected, as most of the weight gain during pregnancy is primarily due to the increased demand for fluids in the body.

What Causes Swollen Ankle In Pregnant Women

One of the probable causes is a diminished blood flow in the lower extremities due to increased uterine pressure and an overall fluid retention. The body increases the supply of blood and retains fluids at the extremities. The growing uterus compresses nearby organs and vessels. It can even heavily pressurize the pelvic veins and the vena cava, which is a carrier of the blood from the lower limbs. The pressure induced by the growing uterus makes venous return slower. This gives the blood no choice but to pool from the veins into the surrounding tissues of the feet and ankle.

Reducing Ankle Swelling While Pregnant

  • This type of edema or swelling on left or right ankle; is usually best relieved by resting on the left side as this can increase the kidney’s rate for filtration, and allows good blood return from the veins.
  • Sitting for around thirty minutes in the afternoon and another thirty minutes in the evening with the legs propped on a stool may also be helpful. Women should avoid wearing tight fitting clothing such as girdles or knee high stockings as these impede lower extremity circulation and venous return.
  • There should be an increase in fluid intake throughout pregnancy. Although it may sound contradicting, it is important to note that substances such as sodium increase the chance for fluid retention. Drinking enough water in a day can mobilize retention and excrete waste products.
  • Light exercise. Physical activity is still recommended for mothers with normal pregnancies. Daily walks can help mobilize water that has pooled at the extremities.

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