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Swollen ankles: reducing the swelling

Have you noticed that you have swollen ankles? If so, you don’t have anything to worry about, because swollen ankles are a perfectly normal and harmless, though uncomfortable, pregnancy symptom that most pregnant women experience in their third trimester of pregnancy.

Regardless, we’re sure you want to do everything possible to reduce the swelling, so here are a few suggestions you can try:

Pregnant women should not cross their legs

Avoid sitting with crossed legs if you want to reduce the swelling in your ankles.

  • Lie on your left side. This improves circulation and is also a great way to avoid leg cramps.
  • Put your feet up. It’s best if when you’re at home your legs are elevated above your heart, but we know that’s not a possibility at work. So at work we suggest just slightly propping them up on a small stool or the pile of files you're procrastinating reading.
  • Don’t cross your legs or ankles when sitting or laying down. Again this also helps prevent against leg cramps.
  • Move your legs when sitting down. Under the table at work or during a meal do a few ankle rotations and flex your toes toward your shin to stretch your calves and get that blood flowing.
  • Exercise. Sitting or standing for too long makes swollen ankles worse. Take a few short walks throughout the day and try some aquatic exercises such as swimming or water aerobics.
  • Maintain a healthy pregnancy diet. This is key for every part of your pregnancy.
  • Keep hydrated. We know this seems a bit contradictory, but dehydration only worsens swollen ankles.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Avoid shoes with straps or those that pinch your feet. Be aware your feet may go up a whole shoe size so you may want to buy a bigger pair of shoes which are versatile.
  • Wear maternity stockings. Maternity stockings are usually high waisted, while normal stockings tend to have tight bands around the calves or ankles, two areas you don’t want to put additional pressure on.