17 Nov The Causes and Treatment of Swollen Feet and Leg Cramps During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time in a women’s life where several changes of the body may take place. As the fetus develops in the womb, physical and physiological adjustments take place in the pregnant women to accommodate the growth of the fetus. A couple of the more uncomfortable developments that take place are swollen feet and leg cramps during pregnancy which will be discussed.
Some other changes that may occur and should be noted by pregnant women include:
- Increased frequency of urination as the growing uterus pushes onto the bladder.
- Increasing size of the abdomen as the fetus is growing in the uterus.
- Dizziness and lightheadedness. As the body produces more blood, particularly plasma, it causes dilution of the red blood cells in the bloodstream and this may result in symptoms of anemia.
- Emotional symptoms such as mood swings decreased concentration and being forgetful.
- Heartburn and constipation. As the uterus expands, pressure can be applied to the stomach and colon causing the respective issues.
Swollen feet during pregnancy
Increased blood pressure and fluids in the lower body and legs can cause the feet to swell during pregnancy. If the swelling occurs in other areas of the body such as the face and hands then this could indicate a potentially serious condition such as kidney disease or pre-eclampsia and the affected individual should consult her doctor as soon as she possibly can.
The following therapies and suggestions are made for women who experience swollen feet during their pregnancy that causes pain:
- Consulting with a podiatrist and orthotist for foot orthotics which can provide support for the feet and ankles and help distribute weight evenly.
- Proper shoes should be worn that provide good arch support and promote adequate circulation to the feet.
- Avoid walking barefoot.
- Massaging the feet can provide relief.
- Elevating the feet higher than the level of the rest of the body.
- Regular, light exercise such as walking helps to promote blood circulation through the feet and aid in reducing pain.
- Reduce salt intake in the diet as this causes fluid retention in the body.
Leg cramps during pregnancy
Leg cramps during pregnancy is not an uncommon occurrence, especially in the third trimester. Nearly 50 percent of pregnant women experience muscle cramps and spasms in their legs, with the issue occurring more frequently at night. These cramps may be caused by the following possibilities:
- Weight gained during the pregnancy.
- Changes that occur in the cardiovascular circulation of the pregnant woman.
- Pressure from the fetus being applied to the nerves and blood vessels supplying the legs.
- Dehydration can cause the electrolytes in the bloodstream to fluctuate causing cramps.
Suggestions for managing leg cramps during pregnancy include:
- Resting and elevating the legs whenever possible.
- Massaging the calves and feet.
- Applying heat to the area where the cramps occur.
- Regular exercise with the focus being on stretching of the calve muscles.
- Staying well hydrated to avoid electrolytes imbalances.
If the mentioned suggestions to help manage swollen feet and leg cramps during pregnancy are not effective then one should consult with their doctor in order to be examined and investigated further to rule out other possible causes.