Waging My Personal War Against Pregnancy Cankles


Welcome to Pregnancy Without a Filter, my weekly series in which I chronicle my life as a first-time mom-to-be. Read along for insights, outbursts, ups, downs, and the real deal about the crazy adventure of making a person.

Week 33

It happened over dinner one evening. Ryan and I went out to grab a bite. When we left the house my ankles were the ankles I’ve always known, and by the time we returned it appeared that someone had stolen my ankles, feet, and toes and replaced them with overstuffed sausages. Needless to say, I was distraught (and a little uncomfortable). 

There are two things that I had been (maybe foolishly) hoping to avoid during this relatively easy pregnancy – bright red stretch marks, and cankles. As of now, the stretch marks haven’t yet made their appearance. But last week the cankles showed up with a vengeance and I’ve been spending the last few days concocting my own regimen for keeping them at bay. Because let’s have some real talk here. Yes, it’s a pretty benign symptom of pregnancy (although you do want to keep an eye on swelling and call your doctor if it gets out of hand), but at a time when you’re already feeling large and uncomfortable it’s just one more thing to add to the list. I’d rather avoid it. 

So, I’m no cankle expert, but in the spirit of sharing my secrets I’ll lay out my cankle avoidance techniques. First, I’m putting my feet up whenever I can. Working at my desk, eating at the table, watching TV– those feet are in the air somehow. Next, at the end of the day I put a cold pack on my feet for a few minutes. Not sure if that one is effective or just feels good, but my feet are fans of it. There’s also a lot of foot and leg stretching that goes on (ankle pumps and rotations and knee bends are my favorite for keeping the blood circulating). And finally, it’s a little weird but I’ve been massaging my feet every night. Work your way from your toes to your ankles and then up your calves to ease that swelling.

After a couple of days of that routine, I’ll be darned if my feet haven’t improved significantly. I know it’s a minor victory, but that’s all it takes these days to get me pumped. (Just the fact that I can still reach my feet to massage them has me feeling proud.) If you’ve got a case of the cankles like I do, hope these little tips work for you too!