Turns out, swollen feet after C-section procedures are common, and the discomfort is real.
So, what should you do, and when should you worry?
Who would have thought that giving birth and taking long-haul flights would be so similar?
As it turns out, swollen feet after C-section procedures are incredibly common.
In fact, all sorts of areas of your body may be more swollen than normal – your legs, ankles, arms, hands, face, and vulva.
In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about and should go away on its own.
In rare cases, it can be a sign that something else is up.
Let’s take a look.
In this article 📝
- Is it normal for feet to swell after C-section?
- How long do feet stay swollen after C-section?
- How do you get rid of swollen feet after C-section?
- When should I be worried about postpartum swelling?
Is it normal for feet to swell after C-section?
Edema is the medical term for swelling due to fluid retention.
It involves the build-up of excess water between the cells located in the tissue of your limbs, hands, or feet or in your circulatory system.
Signs of edema include:
- Feet that look swollen and puffier than usual
- The skin in the area looks stretched and shiny
- With pitting edema after pregnancy, dips hold in the skin after being pressed on for several seconds
- Feet feel full and tight
- Difficulty walking
This is common during and after pregnancy – and even more so if you have a C-section.
During pregnancy, you’re carrying around a whole lot more fluid than you would otherwise.
Your bodily fluids are up, and your blood volume increases by 50% to help with the pretty awesome task you’re pulling off.
With C-sections, the plot thickens.
During the operation, your medical team will give you fluids via IV to reduce the chance of your blood pressure dropping.
These fluids add to the amount of liquid in your system.
Postpartum swelling and all because you’ve got a whole lot more liquid in your system than usual.
How long do feet stay swollen after C-section?
Your feet may stay swollen for about a week or two after your operation.
If the swelling gets worse, is asymmetrical, or doesn’t go away, get to your doctor.
A C-section is a big operation.
It requires recovery time.
That it coincides with having a newborn is, of course, very challenging.
You’ll likely be in the hospital for at least three days so that they can monitor both you and your baby.
How do you get rid of swollen feet after C-section?
Unfortunately, there are no magic pills that will get rid of swelling overnight – but there are some things you can do that will help.
Remedies for swollen feet after C-section
Here’s how to reduce swelling after a C-section (knowing that you will also need a little patience):
- Get elevated: Get gravity to help out with the flow by keeping your feet above your heart. Yes, that means getting off your feet and keeping them nice and high on a comfy pillow.
- Keep hydrated: This one seems a little counter-intuitive, but consuming more fluids actually helps ease water retention. If your body senses you’re dehydrated, it holds onto fluids more. This comes more into play if you are breastfeeding.
- Keep moving: Balance rest with a bit of gentle movement. A short walk. Stretches. Easy does it. As long as you’re not standing in one place for long periods of time.
- Keep the salt low and the potassium high: Daily salt intake is associated with leg edema. It’s a lot to do with helping your body dilute and process the sodium. This balance will help you out in the fluid retention department.
- Wear comfy shoes: Not the time for stilettos. Naturally. Better yet, embrace loose clothing (even in the pants department) to encourage quality circulation.
- Invest in compression socks: These can help provide welcome pressure to your legs and feet, encouraging blood flow and preventing fluid from building – among other things. That doesn’t mean skimping on hydration, rest, and low salt, though…
- Take a diuretic: Your doctor may suggest diuretics (or water pills) to help alleviate your edema symptoms after pregnancy. Alternatively, you could try natural diuretics such as dandelion or green tea. Other natural diuretics include grapes, berries, cucumber, and watermelon. 🍉 That’s quite the smoothie!
When should I be worried about postpartum swelling?
In 2018, Serena Williams revealed she had a dangerous blood clot after giving birth to her daughter by emergency C-section.
While blood clots are rare—about one to two in every thousand pregnancies—they are definitely worth paying attention to.
According to the CDC, you are five times more likely to develop a dangerous blood clot when you are pregnant, and having a C-section doubles that risk.
They can be scary.
They tend to start out in your legs and travel from there.
If they reach your lungs, they can be fatal.
As widely advised in medicine, one of the best ways to reduce the risks of clotting is to stay active right until delivery and soon after.
By moving, you keep the blood moving, so it gives your blood less time to settle and clot.
If you notice that one of your legs is swelling up more than the other, get to your doctor.
Other symptoms of a blood clot in your arms and legs are:
- Pain and sensitivity
- Discolored skin
- Warm skin
Treatment is available, and the sooner you can get the help you need, the better.
If you have a history of blood clots, they run in your family, or you’re 35+, chat with your doctor about how you can keep the risks as low as possible.
And spread the word in your communities—yes, including your bump buddies in the Peanut community.
Normalizing the conversation means you know what to look for.
Knowing what to look for means finding key symptoms in time.
Finding key symptoms means getting the treatment you need when you need it.
The bottom line?
Swollen legs and swollen feet after C-section procedures are common as your body adjusts to its next chapter.
If the swelling is symmetrical, that’s a good sign.
If other symptoms accompany the swelling, get to your doctor right away.
And remember, the postpartum recovery process is a marathon, not a sprint.
Give your body time mama—it’s done you proud!