You have given birth, but both feet still look swollen and the size of the shoe does not return to normal? Is this condition dangerous? Understanding the causes and ways to deal with swollen feet after giving birth will help you deal with the problem you are feeling.
Swollen feet or leg edema are normal and will generally subside shortly after giving birth. Besides occurring in the legs, swelling after giving birth can also appear on the hands, face, legs, and ankles.
During pregnancy, your body will produce lots of blood and fluids to help the development of the fetus in the womb. About 25 percent of the total weight gain is affected by fluid retention in the body.
Causes of swollen feet
Swollen feet are caused by changes in the body due to the process of pregnancy and childbirth, including:
Fluid buildup in the body
Straining during childbirth
Ligaments in the body become loose
During pregnancy, the body produces more estrogen and progesterone. Increasing these two hormones can cause fluid retention or accumulation in the body, including the legs.
The growing uterus can compress the veins in the legs so that blood flow back from the lower parts of the body becomes obstructed. This is one reason why there is a buildup of fluid in the legs during pregnancy. After giving birth, the uterus pushes blood down the body. As a result, it takes several days after delivery for the swelling to subside.
During labor, especially if you have a caesarean, you may also receive intravenous fluids, so the amount of body fluids will increase.
When straining in the normal labor process, there is an increase in pressure to various areas in the body that can cause fluid to accumulate on the face, arms, and legs.
Ligaments or connective tissue throughout your body during pregnancy become looser, causing the legs to become enlarged. Therefore, do not be surprised if you realize the size of shoes after giving birth to be larger than before. Generally these conditions are only temporary. But in some people, this change can be permanent.
Can Swollen Legs Return To Normal?
Swollen feet after giving birth will return to normal within a few days. For several days after delivery, extra tissue, blood vessels, and fluids needed for the baby in the womb, are still stored in the body. In this period, the kidneys have to work extra to excrete excess fluid.
This fluid will be processed by the kidneys to get out of the body in the form of urine, so you will urinate more often than usual. In addition, the liquid will also come out in the form of sweat.
How to Reduce Swelling in the Legs
If it feels disturbing, when you lie down, you can support your feet with a pillow so your feet are higher than your heart. Make sure your feet get enough rest by not standing all day and avoid sitting with your legs crossed because of the risk of inhibiting blood circulation. Gentle and acupuncture massage is also thought to help reduce swollen feet.
Meanwhile, to prevent the development of postpartum swelling, pregnant women can eat healthy food during pregnancy. The healthy diet includes:
- Low-fat protein foods, such as meat, eggs, and nuts.
- Eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruit every day.
- Reduce consumption of salt, sugar, and fat.
- Increase consumption of mineral water to help the kidneys remove excess fluid.
- Eat several types of foods that can help the kidneys, namely foods rich in vitamins C and E, such as oranges, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, and almonds.
- Limit consumption of packaged foods that usually contain high salt and additives.
- Avoid smoking.
By continuing to adopt a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, the risk of swollen feet after delivery can be avoided.
When should you be alerted?
Although it is normal and generally harmless, you should consult a doctor if you experience:
- The swelling of the leg does not go away for more than one week.
- Swelling accompanied by a very severe headache and pain in the legs. This can be a symptom of high blood pressure.
- Swelling that only occurs on one foot or ankle and is accompanied by intense pain. This can be a sign of a blood clot that blocks the flow of veins, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Although swollen feet after giving birth are quite common, there is no need to be reluctant to consult a doctor about this, especially if it doesn’t go away.