Water Retention

Fat Feet During Pregnancy

Water retention is swelling due to accumulated bodily fluids. The medical term for water retention is Oedema.

During pregnancy, the body naturally retains higher levels of water which often swells in the bodily extremeties; ankles, hands and fingers.

Often, water retention will increase during the day and ease off during the night. The legs are more elevated during the night, allowing fluids to circulate more effectively.

Why Do Women Get Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy?

  • The body naturally retains more fluids due to the increased need to flush out the waste from blood. It is a natural reaction for the body to retain more water, in case not enough fluids are put into the body.
  • Due to increased blood volume (up to 40-50%) during pregnancy and increased pressure on the pelvic area, the blood circulation in the legs may slow down, causing fluids to gather around the ankles. We know this as “fat ankles” and “fat feet”.
  • If swelling happens quickly and does not reduce overnight, always contact your doctor as this could be a sign of preeclampsia.

Tips for Relieving Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

  • Wear loose fitting clothes and comfortable shoes – anything tight will only exacerbate the problem of water retention and leave you feeling uncomfortable.
  • Avoid salt and caffeine (these can increase water retention).
  • Take vitamins B6 & C.
  • Keep well hydrated, make sure you drink plenty of water as this helps to better flush out the blood system.
  • Elevate your legs when possible.
  • Keep your legs uncrossed.
  • Gentle exercise such as swimming and yoga.
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