The Pregnancy Feet I Used to Deal With: A Serious Case of Edema!

Alright, alright?I?ll give you guys what you want ;).

So many have asked how the heck my ankles (which are abnormally small, I feel) and feet could ever suffer from ?swollen anything? as I mention in my Huffington Post Article about CrossFitting while Pregnant. Here I am, bringing you the proof 🙂 .

Celebrity Trainer Heidi Powell - The Pregnancy Feet I Used to Deal With - Learn more at

Now that the pic is in front of your face, maybe you wish you hadn’t asked after all!!

This is what happens to me, ladies and gentlemen, when I do not exercise while pregnant. My lymphatic system takes a major hit and water pools in the oddest way throughout my body. As many of you know, this is called edema.

Notice, although both feel are quite swollen, only one is abnormally huge! This condition prevented me from not only wearing shorts and skirts throughout my pregnancy, but also from walking comfortably at all.

This was the case for both of my first two pregnancies, before I learned that working out while pregnant was safe. I used to sit there and count down the days until delivery when I would have my feet and ankles back, as well as my feeling of normalcy.

Healthy pregnancy tips from celebrity trainer Heidi Powell - Learn more at

Incase you haven?t read my Huffington Post article?and are suffering or have suffered from something similar, here are a couple simple tips to avoiding this.

  • MOVE while pregnant (as long as your doctor clears you too). Pregnancy is not a handicap nor a disease. It is more of a reason than anything to keep our bodies healthy! Continued daily exercise will help pregnant women avoid such extreme swelling.
  • Drink plenty of water. Living in AZ, I try to aim for 1.5 gallons a day. This is a lot, yet, but I sweat tons here! It seems odd to follow advice to add more water to your body when you are already holding water in your limbs! But by consuming more water, your body will flush more efficiently.
  • Be aware of your sodium intake. As a pregnant woman, I definitely crave both sweets and salty foods. It is recommended that you slightly increase your sodium intake while pregnant to 3000mg per day (from the normal 1500mg per day), but with the salty food cravings, many pregnant women can hit that limit in just a meal and some salty snacks. Be aware of the sodium content in your store bought and restaurant foods, and aim for the 3000mg number.

Here?s to wishing you a happy, healthy, and swollen-ankle-free pregnancy!

13 Responses

  1. Ugh! I feel for your former self! I had terribly swollen everything while pregnant. I was unable to exercise due to placenta previa early in my pregnancy and macrosomia late in my pregnancy (my blood pressure and blood sugars were fine or it might have been worse). I nearly cried from relief after I had my son and within a couple of weeks I could see the bones in my feet again. I was so thankful! If/When my second pregnancy comes along, I hope it’s complication-free and I can exercise throughout it, just as you suggest!

  2. Thanks for sharing Heidi. I have this problem with me feet and I’m not pregnant. If I wear gym shoes all the time it helps. On the weekend I go without shoe and me feet swell my left more then my right. I need to lose 100 pounds. I have lost about 24 in a year. I do a Zumba class 2 times a week and a strength training class 1 day a week. I just thought I would add that so you didn’t think I was a slacker…lol

  3. I want you to know Heidi that you don’t need to apologize for working out while you are pregnant. I wish I did. Personally, I wouldn’t do crossfit, but that is not to say YOU can’t! You know how to keep yourself safe and your baby safe. I like cardio more, and I wish I did it more when I was pregnant. My point is that you do what you know is best for your baby and yourself. Love, me.

  4. OH MY LORD! What an insanely odd looking foot Heidi! I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me during my two pregnancies. (And I was certainly not exercising or very active.) If only I could go back in time before pregnancy and tell myself to take better care! (But hey, never too late, right!) Never an easy start though.

  5. As a lymphedema therapist I can also tell you to get those feet and any swelling under control (especially if it’s EDEMA and not lymphedema) get in the water! If you are pregnant, add water aerobics into the mix and watch the swelling go bye bye bye!!! It made all the difference in my pregnancy and every doctor would look at my hands and feet and ask me what my secret was. That was it! I thoroughly agree with the other things Heidi says, but get some exercise in the water to really take care of any swelling as well. Good luck friends!

  6. Ouch!

    Im a doula and I’ve had some clients this has happened to.

    Epsom salt baths, nettle and red raspberry leaf infusions, reduce sodium, switch to sea salt and increase protein helps!

  7. Another note that worked for me: my midwives told me that putting a little lemon juice in my water (just a dash) also helps with water retention.

  8. Great tips Heidi, also elevate your feet forcing circulation and stretching to keep the lymph nodes from becoming stagnet. Also try massage with your legs raised, ask your partner to gently rub the outer part of your legs. Ask him to try long, gentle strokes along the outside of your thighs and calves or smaller, circular motions starting at your foot. Just remember to always massage towards the heart.

  9. IT is to bad you live so far away. My specialty is Pregnancy massage, Labor/delivery massage. I would have loved to take care of you. If you are ever in or around Corpus Christi, Texas you and Chris can drop by and I would be honored to treat you both to a massage.
    PS hope your belly is doing better since the burn.

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