How to Reduce Swelling in Feet During Pregnancy

How to Reduce Swelling in Feet During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, as the fetus grows and the pressure on the body increases, especially in the middle and late stages of pregnancy, many pregnant women experience swelling in the legs and feet, which not only affects comfort but can also cause pain and mobility problems. Here, I will explain foot and leg swelling during pregnancy and the best ways to control and treat swelling to help relieve pain.

Swelling in Feet During Pregnancy

Why Swelling in Feet During Pregnancy

Swelling during pregnancy is a common phenomenon, usually caused by increased blood volume and fluid retention. During pregnancy, the mother's blood volume increases significantly to meet the needs of both the fetus and the mother. This increased blood volume causes the blood vessels to dilate, resulting in body fluids seeping out into the surrounding tissues more easily, thus causing swelling.

Additionally, changes in hormone levels in the body can also cause puffiness. During pregnancy, levels of estrogen and progesterone are elevated, and these hormones cause body fluids to become trapped between tissues. Especially in the legs, fluid buildup is more likely to occur due to gravity, leading to swelling.

As the uterus enlarges, it puts pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvis and lower abdomen, restricting the flow of blood from the legs back to the heart. Due to the obstruction of blood return, blood tends to accumulate in the legs and feet, further aggravating the swelling.

To control this swelling, we need to take steps to support the veins and lymphatic vessels in the legs to keep the fluid flowing upward and avoid additional congestion. Swelling in the legs and feet during pregnancy can be effectively reduced by elevating the legs, exercising moderately, maintaining water intake, and reducing salt intake. This not only relieves pain but also improves comfort during pregnancy

Compression Stockings

Compression socks are the first line of defense. They come in different styles and compression levels. Here is a quick guide:

  • Mild Swelling (15-20 mmHg): For mild swelling found at the end of the day. This is a mild pressure.
  • Moderate swelling (20-30 mmHg): For more pronounced swelling, or if you had some swelling prior to pregnancy. This is a medical grade pressure.

To prevent the stocking from rolling down, it is recommended that a silicone band be added to the top of the stocking. This not only prevents the stocking from slipping down but also avoids the tourniquet effect, which in turn avoids aggravating the swelling and discomfort. For your convenience you can simply choose our plus size compression stockings, we offer non-slip strips that will not slip off easily and increase the negative effect. The material we choose is comfortable and breathable, not stuffy in summer.

Of course, you also need to be careful about the length of time you wear compression stockings.

Compression Stockings

(Plus Size Circulation Support Compression Socks(3 Pairs) $38.00 USD)

Elevate Your Feet

Elevating your feet is another effective way to relieve swelling. By elevating your feet above your heart, you can promote blood return and reduce fluid buildup in your legs and feet. You can place your legs on pillows while resting or elevate them while lying down, all of which can help reduce swelling.

Elevate Your Feet

Massage Your Feet

A foot massage is also one of the effective ways to relieve swelling during pregnancy. Lymphatic drainage, a massage technique that helps fluids pass through the lymphatic vessels, can be effective in reducing swelling. Specific actions include:

  • Apply gentle upward pressure with your entire hand.
  • Avoid deep pressure as some doctors discourage this during pregnancy due to the risk of blood clots.
  • If the swelling extends throughout the legs, start at the abdomen and press down to the feet, then reverse the process.

Lower Sodium

Reducing sodium intake is an important measure to control swelling during pregnancy. A diet high in salt can lead to water retention in the body and increase the risk of swelling. To reduce sodium intake, pregnant moms should try to avoid processed foods, which often contain high levels of salt and other additives. 

When cooking, reduce the use of salt and try seasoning foods with pepper, lemon juice, and various herbs to add flavor. Also, reading labels carefully when purchasing foods and choosing low-salt or no-salt products are all steps that can help control sodium intake in the body.

Minimize Outdoor Activity in Hot Weather

Minimizing outdoor activity in hot weather can be effective in relieving swelling during pregnancy. High temperatures cause blood vessels to dilate, resulting in more body fluids leaking out into the tissue spaces, thus increasing swelling. 

Therefore, pregnant women are advised to engage in activities such as outdoor walks in the morning or evening when the temperature is lower during the day and to choose loose, breathable clothing to keep their bodies cool. When going out, try to stay in the shade and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun to minimize the adverse effects of heat on the body.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Wearing comfortable shoes is very important to reduce swelling of the feet and legs during pregnancy. Choosing the right shoes can provide adequate support and reduce pressure, thus relieving swelling. Make sure your shoes are the right size and not too tight or too loose, as tight shoes can restrict circulation and increase the risk of swelling. 

Choosing shoes with arch support can provide better support and reduce pressure on the feet. In addition, try to avoid wearing high heels or shoes with increased height, as high heels increase pressure on the feet and are not conducive to blood circulation, choosing flat or low-heeled shoes is more appropriate.

Indoors you can choose our slipper socks, comfortable and breathable, and there are large sizes to choose from, styles and colors are abundant, and the soles will be designed to be non-slip, which is very important for pregnant women.

Drink Water

Maintaining adequate water intake is the key to controlling swelling during pregnancy. Although it may sound contradictory, adequate water intake can help the body get rid of excess fluid and reduce fluid retention. You should drink enough water every day. 8-10 glasses of water per day is generally recommended, but the exact amount can be adjusted according to individual needs. 

Try to choose to drink plain water instead of sugary drinks or caffeinated beverages, which may cause fluid retention. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to drink regularly and keep your body well hydrated, as this will not only help to control puffiness but also improve your overall health.


Exercise can be effective in eliminating puffiness because it improves circulation in the lymphatic system. With a few simple exercises, you can help your body drain excess fluid more efficiently.

For example, ankle pumps are an effective exercise that involves simply moving your ankles up and down. Also, calf stretches are a good option for making up and down movements with your toes. 


Knee bending can also help reduce swelling by simply bending and straightening your knees. If possible, try to engage in some combination of activities such as walking and swimming. Swimming is particularly beneficial as the water pressure mimics that of a compression stocking, providing extra relief and support during exercise, as well as improving cardiorespiratory fitness in pregnant women, which can help with the health of the fetus. 

Avoid Standing For Long Periods

Standing for long periods of time increases the pressure on the legs and feet, leading to increased swelling. Therefore, pregnant women should avoid standing for long periods of time. If standing is necessary, it is recommended to change positions regularly or find opportunities to sit down and take a break to reduce the pressure on the legs.

Increase Potassium Intake

Increasing potassium intake can help balance the electrolytes in the body, thereby reducing swelling. Potassium helps to counteract the negative effects of sodium on water balance in the body. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, oranges, spinach and potatoes. Increasing the intake of these foods in your diet can help control puffiness.

Limit Caffeine

Limiting the intake of caffeine is not only helpful in reducing puffiness but also beneficial for the health of the fetus. Caffeine has a diuretic effect, which can lead to dehydration, thus affecting the water balance in the body, which in turn aggravates swelling. In addition, caffeine is able to pass through the placenta into the fetus and affect its development. High dose of caffeine intake is associated with risks of miscarriage, preterm labor, and low birth weight. 

Therefore, pregnant women are advised to minimize the intake of coffee, tea, and caffeinated beverages in order to maintain water balance in the body, reduce the occurrence of swelling, and protect the health of the fetus.

Sleep on Your Left Side

Try to sleep on your left side to help reduce swelling. Sleeping on your left side reduces pressure on the inferior vena cava, which promotes blood return and reduces swelling in the legs and feet. In addition, this position increases the blood and nutrient supply to the fetus, which contributes to healthy development.

Sleep on Your Left Side

Stay Cool

Keeping your body cool helps reduce swelling. High temperatures cause blood vessels to dilate and increase fluid buildup. And since your body temperature is higher during pregnancy, try to stay in a cool environment and use a fan or air conditioner to lower your body temperature. Staying cool not only reduces swelling but also improves overall comfort and quality of sleep, which has indirect benefits for the health of the fetus.

Wear Loose Clothing

Wearing loose clothing reduces pressure on the body, improves blood circulation and helps reduce swelling. Tight clothing can restrict blood flow and aggravate swelling. Choosing breathable, loose clothing not only improves comfort but also maintains better blood circulation in the pregnant woman's body, ensuring that the fetus receives adequate oxygen and nutrients.

Epsom Salt Foot Soak

Using laxative salt foot soaks is an effective way to reduce swelling. The magnesium in laxative salts is absorbed through the skin, helping to relax muscles and reduce swelling. Adding one to two cups of laxative salt to warm water and soaking your feet for 15-20 minutes can provide significant relief from swelling in the feet and legs.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is vital to controlling puffiness. Consuming more potassium-rich foods such as bananas, oranges, and spinach can help balance electrolytes in the body and reduce puffiness. Avoid a diet high in salt to minimize water retention in the body. Consuming enough protein, fresh fruits, and vegetables can not only help control swelling but also provide essential nutrients to the pregnant woman and the fetus to promote healthy growth of the fetus

Controlling leg and foot swelling during pregnancy is very important for the comfort of the pregnant woman. By wearing compression stockings, performing lymphatic drainage, and staying active, you can greatly reduce swelling and pain. You are always welcome to visit our website to purchase our compression stockings.

If you have severe leg edema during pregnancy be sure to consult your doctor. See you in the next post!

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