Traveling While Pregnant: How to Avoid Swollen Feet

Check out these top tips for ways to combat puffy feet and ankles when you're on a plane.
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profile picture of Kerry Dougherty
Updated May 1, 2017
Airplane flying through beautifully lit sky.
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Here’s the bad news:  Puffy feet and ankles are common both during pregnancy and when flying, so for some, traveling while pregnant could be the epitome of discomfort.

When you’re pregnant, the circulation in your lower limbs is strained, which is what causes all the swelling in your feet in the first place. (This is also what helps bring on those dreaded varicose veins.) The longer you sit without moving, the worse it is for you. This, plus the cabin pressure on the plane makes for a not-so-nice combo.

On to the good news: Yes, there are definitely ways to relieve at least some of the swelling and pressure when traveling. Here are a few helpful tips:

• Avoid wearing anything tight or restricting, especially shoes.

• Try to get up and walk around every hour. Not possible? Rotate your ankles and point and flex your feet when you can.

• Elevate your feet as much as possible by propping them on top of your carryon luggage in front of you.

• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drinking as much water as you can will help minimize your sodium intake.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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