48 answers

Swollen Ankles Are an Understatement

i thought swollen ankles/feet were just uncomfortable. no one told me it could be painful! my feet, legs, arms, hands, and more hurt. i'm drinking lots of water like the books say. tylenol isn't helping. my doctor only suggested to stay off my feet, but i've got two kids at home. the only thing that helped was a full body massage, but what do i do during the day when my husband isn't home to do that and i can't even reach most of the places that hurt? any suggestions?

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

i've tried laying in bed with pillows elevating my feet, legs, or upper back, but it was just too uncomfortable. soaking my feet in cold water has helped some. the separate buckets for the kids are a must, otherwise they are sticking their feet in my bucket on top of my sore feet. the cranberry juice has made a big difference. it doesn't stop the swelling, but it definitely reduces the pain. and i hope to get to a pool this week. thank you all so much for your help!

Featured Answers


Swollen ankles could signal an Iron deficicency. That would explain why some pregnant people will swell and other pregnant people will not swell. I was 250 pounds with my pregnancies, on my feet quite a bit, and I had no ankle swelling.

Sweeling of the face, hands, trunk, etc is a thiamine defeciciency.

VIt c helps reduce inflammation in body.

Sugar causes cellular level inflammation in the body.

1 mom found this helpful

The reason protein helps is that the body uses one of the amino acids to keep water in the bloodstream. If that amino acid is low, the water leaks into the tissues. A good balance of salt intake is important too.

1 mom found this helpful

I understand!! I am almost 8 months pregnant with #5 and although I do not have the swollen ankles, I do have circulation problems and terrible veins in both legs. The DR told me the same thing...4 kids at home(2 on track break), so putting my feet up? HAHAHA! I am with you there.
I sell Tahaitian Noni, the Noni juice has helped me tremendously!! I do not have to wear the medical stockings as much as I did, in fact I do not have to wear them most weeks at all.
Let me know if I can help with the juice...onlyh an ounce a day is needed.

More Answers

Are you craving salt or eggs?

There are certain physiological things that take place in the pregnant body. When this is explained it gives the pregnant woman a clear understanding of why salt is needed in the diet. First of all, the kidneys are working to increase her blood volume (an increase of 40% to 50%) by reabsorbing water and salt. The kidneys return the reabsorbed fluid and salt to the circulation. Next, in order for the kidneys to be able to perform this function correctly, the pregnant woman has to provide her body with an excellent diet, including plenty of water, salt and albumin. Adequate water intake helps by keeping pregnancy swelling at the normal level and helps protect her in case of excessive bleeding after birth, which can help to protect the new mother from going into shock. Also, included in this information is the benefit of albumin (egg white). Albumin is a protein containing essential amino acids that helps to keep the correct balance in the blood stream. This combination of salt, water and albumin, promotes a very healthy blood volume increase that is crucial to a healthy pregnancy. For more info, go to http://www.blueribbonbaby.org/ifyouarepregnant/

An excellent “salt in pregnancy” explanation is found in the book: **Understanding Lab Work in the Childbearing Years by Anne Frye**. She says that salt should NOT be restricted in the pregnant woman’s diet. A woman's desire for salt is the best gauge of how much she needs. Salt attracts fluid out of the tissues and into the circulation. It is not possible for the normal pregnant woman to eat too much salt, whatever is not needed will be excreted by the kidneys. This needs to be mentioned, since many women are told to restrict salt by a friend or doctor. Even if all other nutrients are adequate, salt restriction alone can cause elevated blood pressure and edema (swelling). Just two weeks of minimal salt intake causes the blood volume to begin to fall. This reflects an imbalance in the albumin/sodium ratio in the bloodstream allowing fluid to seep out of the circulation into the surrounding tissue.

Symptoms of too little salt in the pregnant diet would include an increase in blood pressure and swelling. It is normal to have a certain amount of swelling in pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. An excess amount would show up as pitting. Pitting edema is diagnosed when you press in on a swelled area and the area stays depressed. Another sign to watch for would be that the swelling is the same in the morning as it was the evening before. Ankle edema is not particularly significant but edema on the shins or breastbone is a definite sign.

C. McCollett, CBE, CLD, MWA

3 moms found this helpful

You poor thing!

If you're not getting enough high quality protein, drinking all the water in the world will not help your ankle/leg swelling.

You need bio-available sources like eggs (my midwife had me eating two eggs every day for the length of my pregnancy), leafy greens like kale, chard & blue green algae (spirulina). Lamb, ostrich & emu are the highest, most bio-available meat sources of protein you can get. I know it sounds nutty, but I think you can get ostrich burger at Vitamin cottage & Whole Foods.

I'd also try a spirulina protein drink mix. There are some very good ones - just make sure it does NOT have soy protein.

Good luck and have a wonderful birth.



3 moms found this helpful

Believe it or not, you're dehydrated. I went through the same thing after my son was born, and still have a scar on my left ankle from the swelling (3 years ago.) I had been drinking up to 12 bottles of water each day, but the natural pitocin in my body (breastfeeding spiked it) went haywire and I was in a ton of pain. The only thing that worked was Gatorade(Yuck, I know) as it replaces what you lack from regular water. I had a very hard time believing my doctor, but after they gave me a diuretic medication and I had to throw away my milk for 48 hours and it still wasn't working, I was willing to try anything, and they were right.

Also try red grapes, they have a great natural diuretic effect. Watermelon is also good, but Gatorade is the fastest. Good Luck! And yes, I know it's hard to believe you could possibly be dehydrated, but that's what it is.

3 moms found this helpful

You need to eat plenty of watermelon ! Green tea is an excellent diuretic. Try and get into a pool if you can. The outside pressure from the water will help rid your body of excess water. Are you spilling protein in your urine ? Did your doctor offer to come and watch the boys while you got off your feet ? I thought not.......@@ There are other homeopathics you can take as diuretics. If you have a good health food store, go there and speak with someone knowledgeable. Do not remove all salt from your diet, just use it cautiously. Unfortunately, this is very common and you will lose all this water after the birth.......... I know I did..sweat, sweat, sweat. IS there a teenager nearby who can watch the boys while you rest ? A girlfriend ? I totally understand the difficulty.............Hope this helps.

Mom to 7
Doula/4 VBACs
ICAN of No Colorado

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Hi C.,
I can't believe no one has suggested Uva Ursa tea. It helped me through 3 pregnancies as a natural diuretic. I learned about it in a book called "Birth", published in the late 70's. Other rememcies are:

locate some boots or a leg procedure that messages your legs for 1/2 hour or so and helps the blood flow to release excess water.

De-tox your feet with some electeral process or just use epsom salt baths and then follow with mint (and eucalyptus) foot and leg treatment by Mary Kay - really works - (you can contact me for some).
E. ###-###-####

2 moms found this helpful

Hey C.,

Honey, when you sit be sure your feet are elevated! They need to be higher than your hips to create a slope for fluid to move away from your feet and ankles. Make sense? When you sleep, try to may a way for your feet to be elevated also. When laying on your side you can stack pillows behind you, put your feet on top and your knees on the bed creating the slope.

Remember, too, movement is important...rotate your feet in circles.

Water is good to immerse yourself into, as well. The larger the body of water the better. But if all you have is a small tub, use it. If you can get yourself to a swimming pool daily, better.

Salt your food. Unfortunely the symptoms for having too much salt and having too little are basically the same. So, salt to taste--just enough--don't go crazy with it. Remember the weather is still warm enough for you to be sweating so you do need to replace lost salts.

Eat WATERMELON, lots of watermelon, and drink lots of LEMON water. The watermelon will help hydrate you, the lemon works as a diuretic which helps rid your body of excess fluid. Cran juices do the same whether it's cranberry or cranapple. (mixing cranberry with orange juice evenly 50/50 is AWESOME)

Rub your own legs. When you sit with your legs and feet propped up, put your hands around your ankle, gently squeeze, and put toward your body.

Remember to focus on the miracle of this time more than the sacrifice...you only have a few precious days having a private relationship with your little one--after that, the world begins to butt in.

2 moms found this helpful

The reason protein helps is that the body uses one of the amino acids to keep water in the bloodstream. If that amino acid is low, the water leaks into the tissues. A good balance of salt intake is important too.

1 mom found this helpful

I know that I'm a little late to respond but, something that I've always had great results with my pregnant clients (I'm a massage therapist) is brushing your legs from the foot towards the hip. It is something that your kids can help you with, just use a hair brush, I like the ones with the round tip on the bristles and gently brush up the legs, do this while your legs are elevated.

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