Swelling During Pregnancy

Swelling refers to the accumulation of fluid in your body tissues. It’s quite common in pregnant women. The growth of your belly helps in meeting the needs of your developing baby. However, enlargement of other body parts can become a concern to many expectant women. The good news is that this condition can be managed easily. Let’s look at some of the issues surrounding swelling during your pregnancy. 

Reasons as To Why One Swells when Pregnant

During pregnancy, your body produces about 50% more blood and body fluids. This softens your body and enhances expansion as your baby enlarges. The additional blood and fluids may sometimes cause swelling. Other factors that may cause swelling include:

  • Long periods of standing -These aggravate swelling of your feet.
  • Diet that’s poor in potassium. This mineral is found in foods such as bananas, avocado, and kidney beans. Read more on foods to eat while pregnant.
  • High intake of caffeine drinks -Caffeine increases your ability to retain water.
  • High intake of sodium – This mineral is also considered to make your body retain more water.
  • Processed foods – Pre-packaged foods often have high levels of trans-fat which can eventually cause oedema.
  • Long stay in the sun – Long exposure to the sun may cause swelling of the throat, hands, or feet.

 Where and When Will I Start Swelling?

 Swelling can occur at any time during pregnancy. However, it’s common to notice it around the fifth month. Noticeable swelling can also occur during the third trimester. You may have mild swelling throughout your body, although it’s mostly visible in your feet, hands, face, ankles and legs.

How Can I Reduce Swelling?

Research shows that you can reduce your swelling by eating a potassium-rich diet and reducing caffeine. Below are other helpful tips to manage swelling during your pregnancy:

  •  Wear comfortable shoes – Shoes such as flats provide enough space for your feet and ankles to expand.
  •  Avoid tight outfits – Clothes that are tight at the ankles or wrists may lead to oedema. Read more on how to dress while pregnant
  • Reduce your outdoor time – It’s helpful, especially during hot weather.
  • Drink water. It helps to flush the body and reduces its water retention.
  • Minimize salt intake – This will ensure that you control the amount of sodium in your body.
  • Focus on lean meat – Meats such as chicken and turkey have high protein levels. Protein is essential in balancing your body fluid. See what foods to eat when pregnant here.

 when Should I Be Worried?

Although swelling is common, some instances can make you concerned. For instance, if you experience swelling along with chest pains or coughing, you need to see a doctor. You may also be worried if there’s more swelling in one hand or leg and accompanied with pain.


Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed March 2019 

Sources: americanpregnancy, babycentre

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