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Is Leg Swelling Normal During Pregnancy?

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During pregnancy, there are changes that occur in the body that could affect one's health. One of the most common conditions that women face is swelling of their legs, which is caused by the fact that the body produces more fluids and blood in order to meet the requirements of the growing baby. Swelling is normal during pregnancy and could happen in the hands, ankles, face, legs, and feet. The extra fluid that is generated also accounts for the additional 25% weight women gain when pregnant.

When does swelling occur when pregnant?

There is no specific point in which you will expect swelling during pregnancy. It can occur at any stage, but it tends to be more common during the fifth month and could accelerate as you enter the third trimester. Some women will also have varicose veins as a result of the pregnancy, but these are not severe symptoms because after pregnancy the legs will get back to normal condition.


There are different factors that could affect swelling when you are pregnant including the following:


  • Standing for a long period of time
  • Taking a diet that is low in potassium
  • Having long days of activity
  • Summertime heat
  • Taking a lot of sodium
  • High caffeine consumption


You should expect slight swelling during pregnancy, but if it turns out the swelling exceeds to your face and hands, this could be a sign of preeclampsia and so it's advisable to seek medical assistance. In case of sudden swelling, you should consult your healthcare provider.

How to deal with swelling during pregnancy

It's possible to reduce swelling by taking foods that are high in potassium like bananas, and also avoiding caffeine. Make sure to avoid standing for long periods, when it's hot reduce the outdoor time, and always rest with your feet up. Remember that wearing comfortable shoes is also necessary. Don't wear heels as they could encourage swelling. Most importantly, take plenty of water as it helps to flush your body and prevent water retention.


When you should see a doctor

In some situations, you will need the guidance of a doctor to understand how to deal with swelling. If you have symptoms to suggest that you have preeclampsia, you should not hesitate to visit your doctor. Also sometimes if the swelling is accompanied by difficulty in breathing and changes in your vision, you need to consult a medical doctor. Sudden headaches and confusion are also signs that suggest something is not right. Many swellings are normal during pregnancy and could be averted by observing the right procedures as described above.


Note that taking salty food could also cause swelling in a condition called edema. This condition causes the accumulation of excess fluid in tissues. Edema stems from liver conditions and should be treated immediately symptoms show. That’s why you need to be keen when your feet swell while pregnant because it could be one of these conditions that require medical assistance.


Different women experience different changes during pregnancy. One of the conditions you need to prepare for is leg swelling, which is for the most part normal because of the changes the body undergoes. However, sometimes the swelling is accompanied by pain and several other symptoms that may suggest a severe condition. In that case, you should seek the opinion of a medical doctor. Doctors can spot serious causes of swelling depending on the results of examination obtained.