In an Instagram post last night, Jessica Simpson shared a photo of her feet and ankles, looking swollen to the extreme, with the desperate caption: "Any remedies?! Help!!!!" Simpson announced that she was pregnant with her third child in September 2018, so we can extrapolate that she's probably due around March 2019. But you, like Simpson, might be wondering what the deal is with swollen feet and pregnancy, and whether there's anything you can do to stop it?
There are a number of reasons why people experience edema, aka swollen feet, during pregnancy. For starters, your body retains more fluid during pregnancy, because you need more fluid to grow a baby, which can obviously lead to swelling, according to the American Pregnancy Association. On top of that, the sheer size of your uterus can decrease blood flow to the veins in your lower body, and make it harder for blood to circulate back to your heart, according to the Mayo Clinic. All of those factors, combined with hormonal changes, can make a pregnant person’s feet and ankles balloon up.
While a certain amount of swelling is to be expected, sometimes it can be a sign of a more serious health issue, such as preeclampsia, which is a blood pressure disorder. In addition to hand and foot swelling, some symptoms of preeclampsia include a persistent headache, blurred vision, abdominal or shoulder pain, nausea and vomiting, sudden weight gain, and difficulty breathing, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Sudden and painful swelling can also be a sign of a blood clot, which requires medical attention, according to the Mayo Clinic.
We don't know whether Simpson's swelling is due to preeclampsia or not, but given how far along she is, it could very well be normal. Typically, people experience the most swelling around the fifth month or the third trimester of pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Sometimes, pregnancy swelling just goes away on its own, but there are a few home remedies that are safe and helpful.
The main remedy, obviously, is to stay off your feet for long periods of time, and keep your feet elevated if you can, according to the Mayo Clinic. Staying physically active, and walking around a pool can also help relieve the pressure and swelling. Some say that sleeping on your left side specifically can reduce the pressure on the vein that circulates blood from your legs back up to your heart. Also, wearing compression stockings can be a good idea, if your doctor says it's okay.
So, here's to hoping that Simpson gets her feet back to their usual size soon — or at least gets herself a foot massage, which can also be helpful for edema.