Swollen ankles, feet and fingers during pregnancy


Swollen ankles, feet and fingers during pregnancy are an(other) aesthetically challenging (and uncomfortable) aspect of pregnancy. In medical-speak it's oedema, but we call it swelling.

This swelling happens because your body retains more fluid than usual in pregnancy, and this 'pools', particularly if you've been standing a lot or if it's hot weather. 

How to ease swollen feet and ankles

  • Don't force your feet into your pre-pregnancy shoes if they're feeling too tight - comfy shoes are the order of the day
  • When you get a chance to sit down, try to raise your feet on cushions or pillows
  • Don't sit with your feet or legs crossed
  • Rotate your feet clockwise and anti-clockwise regularly
  • Exercise - swimming and walking will both help
  • Avoid salty foods and make sure you drink plenty of fluids

When swelling can be serious

If you get sudden swelling in your face, hands or feet, you should contact your GP or midwife because it can be one of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy-related condition that can be harmful for you and your baby.

What Mumsnetters say about swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy

  • I had swollen fingers with my first pregnancy - couldn't get wedding ring off and they thought they might have to cut it off if the swelling increased. The only shoes I could comfortably wear were flipflops. Very chic with the work outfits! Sponge
  • My ankles were like stress balls - you could nearly get your whole finger in them. Mmmmchocolate
  • Put a pillow or folded blanket under the foot end of your mattress, sit with your feet up, go for a walk when it is cool (morning or evening), drink plenty of water and herbal teas like fennel and peppermint. Madmouse
  • My midwife told me not to worry unless I got pre-eclampsia symptoms like swelling elsewhere, bad headaches, flashing spots in your vision or high blood pressure (there are a few others). She said isolated swollen ankles were to be expected and I should just put my feet up more. HollyGoHeavily

A decent excuse for getting someone else to do the running around, if ever we heard one.



Last updated: 10 months ago