Pregnancy: top tips for tackling swollen ankles when flying

If you have a normal pregnancy flying is pretty safe these days but many women will find that their ankles swell up. Midwife Jutta Wohlrab shares her quick tips to tackle swollen ankles

During pregnancy the body produces more oestrogen than normal which helps to collect fluid in the body and can often give mothers to be that ‘soft look’ towards the end of their pregnancy.

When travelling by air the majority of us spend our time sitting and restricted in our movements even if we are lucky enough to fly first class! There is a reduction in blood circulation and add to that air conditioning, dehydration can set in and further reduce the movement of fluid in the body.

Depending on how long the flight is and what kind of climate you are travelling from there are a few ways you can help alleviate and prevent fluid retention in the body.

Hydrate: It’s very simple, drinking water consistently whilst flying helps things moving in the right direction. Just be prepared to visit the toilet frequently!

Pimp your wardrobe: They may not be the most fashionable items of clothing but compression stockings can really help keep your ankles from swelling up and help reduce the danger of deep vein thrombosis. Either buy them beforehand (, or most airports and pharmacies will have these in stock.

Keep your cool: Having a cool shower on the day of the flight can help keep your body cool and reduce fluid retention especially if you are in warmer climates.

Move your body: Circling and pumping your feet frequently and making sure you get up often, walk around and move your heels up and down will help to improve overall circulation in the body.

Snack attack: Keep some cucumber on hand to nibble on as they contain plenty of water and other nutrients that will help hydrate and nourish your body. Fresh pineapple is great for helping to hydrate the body and acts a natural detoxifier.

Raise it up: If your feet are swollen after the flight you can practice Legs-Up-the-Wall pose to help drain the fluid from your feet. When pregnant it’s best to place a pillow or bolster under your chest to help keep it elevated to avoid putting pressure on your baby.

In the event that you feel unwell on the lead up to your flight please make sure you get in touch with a doctor or your midwife.

Jutta Wohlrab is an international midwife and bestselling author of Happy Birthing Days A Midwife’s Secret to a Joyful, Safe and Happy Birth which is a comprehensive guide for expectant parents to prepare them for the birth process. For more information on Jutta and her work please visit