Hungry Bear has given me cankles*. They first appeared round about Week 32 but since hitting Week 37, I literally only have to look at my ankles for them to sprout. Maybe they were there already and I’m now destined to have cankles forever?
Seemingly, cankles (also known as oedema) are common during the later stages of pregnancy and are down to two major changes in your body.
- Blood volume has increased by up to 50% and so your body has the capacity to hold more water than normal. Most women experience cankles towards the end of the day, especially if you’ve been standing around a lot, when gravity does its job and drags all the water down towards your feet, a little like ill-fitting socks which sag.
- Your massively growing alien baby increasing the size and weight of your uterus which presses down on the veins in your pelvis and vena cava (the large vein on the right side of your body which transports de-oxygenated blood from the lower part of your body back to the heart).
Here’s some things I’ve learnt about my own cankles over the past few weeks:
- Cankles aren’t just relegated to the ankle area – they also give you what I call ‘club foot’ (not actually a very accurate term) whereby they puff up your feet too. This can make it painful to walk and also makes it even more of a challenge to get shoes on.
- Since pregnancy, I’ve bought 4 new pairs of shoes. Out of all of these, I can just about squeeze into one; I made the foolish mistake of choosing shoes which I hoped would be easy to put on, totally forgetting that some people’s feet can get so fat during pregnancy that they have to buy shoes TWO sizes bigger. Our of those 4 new pairs of shoes, I’ve not even dared tried squeeze my feet into one and am saving those as my post-pregnancy present (unless my feet decide not to shrink back to their original size in which case I’m going to try. And yes, that can happen).
- The best shoes I’ve discovered for summer cankles are my Birkenstocks (which I already owned). I call them my troll feet because they’re so damn ugly but HALLELUJAH for adjustable straps.
- Lying with my feet up in the air doesn’t seem to help get rid of cankles. I tried it whilst watching three episodes of Game of Thrones back to back and they were still as fat as before.
- I like to think that massage helps so the husband has been in charge of anti-cankle duty. Which basically means lots of squishing and pumelling of my feet whenever I can get him sitting long enough to drop them in his lap. He’s now very well trained.
- Having cankles has made my feet look even weirder. Not only do I have ‘finger toes’ and a ‘barely there’ little toe (this is normal for me), but my actual foot often resembles a bloated pale slug. I have decided to try and rectify this with a pedicure and polish**.
- The one thing that seems to help prevent cankles? Walking around. Fast. Luckily for me, I’m almost always late so I’ve been doing lots of fast walking waddling around.
- I’m lucky enough to have only *touch wood* gotten cankles so far. Some people get fat hands and faces too.
- Cankles can be dangerous! If they don’t disappear and you get a headache, blurry vision and a whole host of other strange symptoms then seek medical advice immediately as it could be pre-eclampsia which is dangerous for both you and your baby.
Now excuse me, I’m heading out to walk off my cankles.
*For those who don’t know, cankles are when your lower leg becomes so water retentive (or fat) that your calves merge into your ankles, thereby remove any sign of ankles whatsoever.
** I wasn’t sure if you’re allowed to have varnished nails when you go into labour just in case it ends in a Caesarean but apparently it’s ok because it’s not a general anaesthetic.