In-Network with all major PPO Insurances. Anthem, BCBS as well as CIGNA

Dr. Frederick N. Fedorchak &
Dr. Veronica A. Kacmar-Fedorchak

Board Certified Podiatric Physician & Surgeon

Pregnancy is a beautiful and life-changing experience. As your body grows and changes to carry a healthy newborn for nine months, you might notice some conditions that are less than beautiful. A common podiatric condition pregnant people face is edema or swelling in the feet, ankles and legs. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce the effects of swelling.

First, why do your feet and lower legs swell during pregnancy?

This type of edema is typical during pregnancy. It typically worsens as the day goes on from the pressure the feet undergo. It also worsens in high heat and humidity. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce swelling in your feet during pregnancy.

Simple Ways to Reduce Pregnancy Foot Swelling

  1. Sit frequently. Standing for extended periods puts pressure on your feet, increasing swelling. Take frequent rests and sit when possible.
  2. Stretch when sitting. Although standing too long can make your feet swell, sitting can, too! If you’re sitting more or taking a break, stretch your feet, ankles, and lower legs to keep blood flowing.
  3. Stay hydrated! When feeling dehydrated, the body retains water. Drinking plenty of water and electrolytes can actually reduce edema!
  4. Exercise regularly. Walking, swimming and other forms of activity help increase blood flow. 
  5. Wear compression stockings. Compression stockings are different than compression socks. Unlike socks, stockings go up to the waist. Compression stockings can help increase blood flow. 
  6. Get more potassium. Not having enough potassium can worsen swelling. Fortunately, you can increase your potassium intake by taking supplements or eating more potassium-rich foods like bananas, avocados, and papayas.
  7. Reduce sodium intake. Sodium – salt – makes your body retain more water. Cut back on sodium to decrease swelling. 
  8. Soak your feet. Warm water is a great way to reduce swelling and relieve aches and pains. It can also help you relax, which is even more critical during pregnancy.
  9. Elevate your legs. When your feet are swollen, lay flat with your feet up on a pillow. Elevating your feet so that they are above your heart helps decrease swelling. 
  10. Opt for custom shoes. Custom orthotics can significantly reduce swelling – and aches and pains – in your feet. They’re designed to fit your feet so that you have room to move while still being supported and cushioned. 

Important Notes About Pregnancy Swelling

Most importantly, swelling in the feet, ankles, legs and even hands is normal during pregnancy. However, some dangerous conditions that can occur during pregnancy also cause swelling. Blood clots and preeclampsia are serious, life-threatening conditions that can cause severe swelling. Consult with your OB/GYN team if your swelling:

Another important note is that even with the steps above, some people will still experience swelling during pregnancy. It typically becomes more noticeable approaching the due date but fades after delivery. If you have other foot concerns during pregnancy, schedule an expert consultation with Dr. Fedorchak!