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Natural Ways to Help with Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy

written by: TheresaHalvorsen • edited by: Lisa Lambson • updated: 6/30/2009

Any woman who's ever been pregnant has dealt with swollen ankles during pregnancy. In fact, a little swelling is normal. But there are some things you can do to alleviate the worst of the swelling such as wearing support hose, exercising during pregnancy and drinking more water.

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    Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy

    Swollen ankles during pregnancy is a very common pregnancy symptom. It's mostly due to water retention which can be normal during pregnancy. It may also be caused by pressure on pelvic veins as the pregnancy continues and increased blood volume.

    For some women, swelling in the ankles is a minor annoyance as they walk or try to put shoes on. For others it's downright painful.

    Be aware that if you experience sudden swelling in your hands or face or swelling of ankles after 12 hours of rest, contact your care provider immediately as this can be a sign of preeclampsia, a very serious medical condition.

    Below I will discuss some solutions to ankle swelling during pregnancy including:

    • Hydration
    • Support hose
    • Exercise
    • Cold Water
    • Salt intake
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    Drink more Water

    The biggest culprit of swollen ankles is dehydration. When you become dehydrated, the body fights back by storing extra water beneath the skin. Increasing your water intake will make your ankles swell up a little more, but after a few hours, the body will equalize and the swelling will go down.

    Aim to drink about 8 to 10 glasses of healthy fluids (mostly water) a day. If you're having problems drinking that much, fill up a pitcher with 10 glasses of water and put it in the refrigerator. Make sure all that water is gone by the end of the day.

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    Wear Support Hose

    There are special socks called support hose pregnant women can wear to help prevent or relieve swelling in the ankles. Some support hose are knee length, others are like pantyhose. Make sure you put them on in the morning when the swelling is less. Talk to your care provider about which kind to purchase.

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    Keep Moving

    Basic movements such as walking can help with swollen ankles. Unless your care provider tells you otherwise, aim for about 30 minutes of light physical exercise during pregnancy most days of the week. When you are sitting, rotate your ankles periodically and avoid crossing your legs at the knees. You can also elevate your feet whenever you sit down.

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    Apply a Cold Water Compress

    Another helpful technique to relieve swollen ankles in pregnancy is to apply a cool compress to the ankles. The cool may help some of the swelling go down and will feel good too. Prop your ankles up and change the compress every couple of minutes to ensure it stays cold.

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    Cut Back on the Salt

    A high intake of salt is a known culprit of water retention. If you know you have a diet high in fast and processed foods, try to switch to more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to cut down on your salt intake. In general pregnant women shouldn't excede 2,400 mg of sodium a day. However, pregnant women should not cut salt completely out of the their diet. Salt during pregnancy is needed to maintain a healthy pregnancy and experts now say their is no link between salt intake and preeclampsia.

    A healthier diet will also help you to feel better during your pregnancy. To read more about a healthy diet during pregnancy, click here.

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    Disclaimer

    The information in this article should not be considered medical advice. The information in this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your physician before taking any products or following any advice you have read on Brighthub.com. Always consult your doctor before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your doctor before use.

Natural Cures for Pregnancy Discomforts

While pregnancy is a joyous time, it also can be a time of headaches, morning sickness, sciatic pain and other common discomforts. Luckily, there are many natural cures that you can use to ease these discomforts and that won't involve chemicals that may injure your baby.
  1. Natural Remedies for Heartburn During Pregnancy
  2. Natural Ways to Help with Backaches during Pregnancy
  3. Natural Ways to Deal with Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
  4. Natural Ways to Help with Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy
  5. 5 Easy Ways to Deal with Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy