Ackkkk! My ankles are swollen!

Maybe you’ve been on your feet all day, or maybe, you’ve been in your chair all day…Suddenly, you look down and you notice that your ankles have increased in circumference and seem to look like they don’t belong to you anymore.  “Ackkkk!!”

Swollen ankles, or edema,  is a common complaint during pregnancy.  Increased blood volume resulting form hormonal signals in the body increases venous pooling and can cause fluid to accumulate in the extremities.  Many times, hot temperatures, high salt intake, certain medical conditions and late pregnancy can increase the likelihood of edema.  If you are on your feet all day, or perhaps, have been sitting for prolonged periods, as on a long car ride, chances are, there will be swelling.  

A very lovely way to alleviate this discomfort is to lie supine on the floor with the feet up the wall.  This posture, Viparita Karani, is highly beneficial, whether you are pregnant, or not.  The practice of this posture can reduce varicose veins, relieve aching feet and bring you a sense of peace and relaxation.  When practicing while pregnant, be mindful of how you feel while in a supine position.  After 34 weeks, it may not feel comfortable.  Also, it is important to place a pillow at the small of the back in order to support the pelvis and the hips.  This will relieve pressure from the uterus. 

Lindsay in Viparita Karani

Lindsay enjoys the benefits of having her feet up the wall while pregnant.

  1. Sit beside a wall and lie down.
  2. Using your arms and NOT your stomach muscles, swivel round so your back is at a right angle to the wall and your legs are straight up.
  3. Stay in this space as long as you like. 
  4. To come out of the posture, let your legs come down, bending at the knees, to the left side as you use your arms to roll your torso to the same side. You will be in a fetal position.  Use your hands to help you up to seated.

Here are some ways to reduce the swelling and discomfort:

  • Elevate the legs and feet several times a day
  • Avoid standing for long periods without moving
  • Keep cool during hot weather
  • Avoid high sodium foods.
  • Drink more water.  (10-12 glasses recommended during hot weather.)
  • Exercise regularly.

Of course, if the conditon worsens, consult with your healthcare provider. 


© and Janet MacFarlane,2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janet MacFarlane and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



2 thoughts on “Ackkkk! My ankles are swollen!

  1. I’ve been crazy busy the last couple of months (I think I always say that, but then again, it’s always true. 🙂 ) so I missed this. Great, informative blog post! I passed it along to my sister and mom as well — who can’t use use some time with legs up the wall?

  2. Thanks for sharing tips to relieve pressure from the uterus and way to reduce swelling the common issue during pregnancy. Its really helps during pregnancy.

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