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Parents discusses the causes of swollen feet and ankles, and leg pain during pregnancy according to experts including HSS foot and ankle surgeon David S. Levine, MD.

Raised hormone levels cause women to retain water while expecting, which leads to swelling and bloating (also known as edema). The body needs this extra fluid to carry nutrients and oxygen to your baby, explained Dr. Levine.

Typically, fluid retention is most pronounced in the feet, ankles, and calves because the uterus puts pressure on the veins that carry blood back from the lower body. This partially blocks blood flow, keeping fluid in the legs and feet. Blood vessels are also the smallest in the foot and ankle, added Dr. Levine, so the body has difficulty accommodating the extra fluid pouring in there.

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