Of all the amazing and (sometimes) unsettling ways your body changes during pregnancy, your feet swelling for apparently no reason may be one of the more alarming. And it appears Jessica Simpson, who is pregnant with her third child, is not immune. In a post of a particularly swollen left foot on Instagram this week, Simpson asked her followers if they had any advice.
"Any remedies?!" she wrote. "Help!!!!" Commenters reassured her that the swelling is totally normal for many people during pregnancy and offered a few tips, such as wearing compression socks and keeping the legs elevated.
There are some very normal reasons why the swelling occurs, but not everyone experiences it to the same degree.
That swelling is all thanks to the increased retention of fluid that you experience while pregnant, SELF explained previously. And, thanks to gravity, that swelling tends to be most severe in your feet and ankles. But it's more than that: Your growing uterus puts extra pressure on the veins in that part of the body and makes it harder for blood to return to the heart.
However, not everyone experiences the same amount of swelling. And those who do experience it may notice different levels of swelling with different pregnancies.
If your swelling is bothersome, the Mayo Clinic suggests trying a few tried-and-true remedies, such as trying to stay off your feet as much as possible, elevating your legs when you can, and wearing compression stockings. Sleeping on your left side, which can relieve some pressure on one of the large veins in the body, may help encourage normal blood flow and ease some of the swelling.
Having a high level of sodium in the body can also contribute to swelling, so if you have a high-sodium diet it's important to chat with your doctor about that while pregnant. They may be able to help you cut back on your sodium intake which, in turn, might help reduce your swelling.
And, although it might be tempting to try to counteract the swelling by drinking less water, it's crucial to stay hydrated (always, yes, but especially while you're pregnant).
Sometimes, swelling can be a sign of something more serious. So it's important to check in with your doctor if you're not sure what's going on.
All of that swelling can cause pain, tingling, and a "heavy" sensation, making things pretty uncomfortable. But, in general, swelling isn't causing any lasting damage or endangering your health.
In rare cases, though, swelling can be a sign of a blood clot, the Mayo Clinic explains. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)—a blood clot that forms in the deeper veins of the body, often in the legs—can cause swelling that mimics the normal swelling of a pregnancy in the ankles and leg area. But DVT usually only causes swelling in one leg or the other.
It can also be a symptom of preeclampsia (also sometimes called toxemia), a condition involving high blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy. If you're dealing with preeclampsia, the swelling is more likely to come on suddenly and may also occur in the face or hands, not just the legs.
So, the good news is that swelling, while annoying, isn't usually a sign of something serious. But if you have any concerns or your swelling doesn't seem like normal pregnancy swelling, it's a good idea to check in with your doctor.