Why are my ankles and feet so swollen?
What you're experiencing is edema – that's when excess fluid collects in your tissue. It's normal to have a certain amount of swelling during pregnancy because you're retaining more water. Changes in your blood chemistry also cause some fluid to shift into your tissue.
In addition, your growing uterus puts pressure on your pelvic veins and your vena cava (the large vein on the right side of the body that carries blood from your lower limbs back to the heart). The pressure slows the return of blood from your legs, causing it to pool, which forces fluid from your veins into the tissues of your feet and ankles.
For this reason, edema is most likely to trouble you during the third trimester. It may be particularly severe for women with excessive amniotic fluid or those carrying multiples. Edema also tends to be worse at the end of the day and during the summer.
After you deliver your baby, the swelling will disappear fairly rapidly as your body eliminates the excess fluid. You may find yourself urinating frequently and sweating a lot in the first days after childbirth..
When should I be concerned about swelling?
A certain amount of edema is normal in the ankles and feet during pregnancy. You may also have some mild swelling in your hands.
Call your midwife or doctor if you notice swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, or excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles. This could be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious condition.
Also call your caregiver promptly if you notice that one leg is significantly more swollen than the other, especially if you have any pain or tenderness in your calf or thigh. This could signal a blood clot, another serious condition.