Many women suffer from swollen ankles during pregnancy, but it also is possible to suffer from swollen ankles after you give birth. Swelling is sometimes referred to as edema and is caused by fluid and blood retention. In most cases, swollen ankles after giving birth is nothing serious, but if symptoms persist for longer than a month after giving birth, you should visit your doctor to make sure it is not life-threatening.
There are other symptoms to look for if you think you are suffering from swollen ankles. You might feel a tingling sensation in your ankles, and if you press your ankles, stomach or hands, an indentation might appear and typically remain for a few seconds. This is an indication of water retention.
When your are pregnant, the cells in your body retain water, which is why some experience puffy hands and feet. In some cases, the water that was retained during pregnancy could take awhile to drain away after pregnancy. This is why some women still suffer from swollen hands and feet for weeks after they give birth. Another reason you might have swollen ankles after pregnancy is if you do not resume activity after giving birth. For example, if you are bed ridden for a few days after delivering your baby.
There are various things you could do to relieve the symptoms of swollen ankles. Consuming plenty of water is very important, because when you are dehydrated your body retains water. Therefore, try to drink at least eight large glasses of water a day. Put your feet on a footstool when you sit down to allow the blood to flow freely through your legs. Make sure you walk and remain active as well; massaging your ankles also helps to improve the circulation in your legs and drain the fluid.
Although swollen ankles after pregnancy often is not a serious condition, always visit your doctor if you feel the symptoms have persisted for longer than four weeks. If you suffer from hypertension or heart problems, contact your doctor as soon as you experience swelling. Swollen ankles combined with chest pains, dizziness and/or headaches could indicate something more serious, so visit your local hospital immediately.