Swollen Ankles in Pregnancy
Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
It is usually worse by the end of the day, when you have been on your feet for some time and much better in the morning after you've been lying in bed the whole night.
Ankle edema can also occur more often if there is excessive increase in weight during the pregnancy.
Causes of Swollen Ankles
- Pressure by the Enlarging Uterus: As the uterus increases in size, it presses on the veins carrying blood back from the legs to the heart. This causes the blood in the legs to stagnate. Fluid leaks out of the blood vessels into the extracellular space and collects at the ankles and feet as they are the lowermost part of the body.
- Increased blood volume: During pregnancy, the blood volume increases to accomodate for the growing oxygen needs of the baby as well as the other body tissues. While blood vessels are quite capable of handling large volumes of blood flow, there may still be some amount of leakage of fluid outside the vessels.
- Excess weight gain: Excessive weight gain can put more pressure on the veins than normal leading to edema or swollen ankles.
- Retention of Water: Pregnant women retain more water than normal. This can add to the ankle swelling.
Symptoms of Ankle Swelling
- Tightness of shoes and slippers.
- Shiny appearance of the skin.
- Swelling of the ankles.
- Leaving a pit on the skin when pressed with one finger.
What you can do about Swollen Ankles
Swelling in only one leg is also dangerous. If it is accompanied by pain or tenderness in the calf or thigh, it could indicate a blood clot or other underlying condition.
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