While the joys of pregnancy are innumerable, it has its plights too. To a mother, waiting for her little soul is one of the purest forms of delight during pregnancy. As it approaches the due date, swelling near the feet, ankles and hands are commonly seen to develop. Usually, this form of swelling occurs during the later stages of pregnancy and doesn’t cause much harm to you or your baby. Albeit, it can be a little uncomfortable.

During the third trimester of pregnancy, the body generates an excess of 50% blood and bodily fluids, which are required to nourish the baby’s needs. These excess fluids accumulate in your tissues and joints, which is essential to allow your body to relax in order to enlarge throughout pregnancy and prepare for baby birth.

Now, let’s look at when swelling occurs in pregnancy.

Swelling in Pregnancy

Beginning with the 28th week of pregnancy, which is also called the third trimester, mothers are most commonly seen to experience swollen feet. Although it is a truly joyous phase wherein awaiting for the little bundle of joy may seem all rosy, but as it progresses into the 40th week of pregnancy, you might find your toes resembling like little sausages. That’s when you reach the pinnacle of pregnancy or you may call it the cherries and glams of motherhood.

This stage marks the body’s continual attempt to build fluids and blood which culminates to swelling or edema during the third trimester. It also results due to changing hormones, growing uterus, and retention of extra fluid in the body’s tissues.

However, swelling is a natural concept during pregnancy. It isn’t hazardous, only uncomfortable. Many expectant mothers begin to notice it in mid-pregnancy, while some experience it towards the end of pregnancy.

Considering that swelling is a natural phenomenon for mothers during pregnancy, it is also equally important to know why it occurs in pregnancy. Normally, the cause of swelling is nothing but the body retaining excess water than usual. However, there are certain factors which can also contribute to the inflating feet during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Let’s look at its causes below:

  • Hot weather –

    If the weather is hot and you’re standing for a prolonged period, then excess water tends to pool in the lowest parts of the body.

  • Excess production of blood –

    In order to help the baby grow, your body produces an influx of blood supply that helps nourish the fetus. This leads to inflation during pregnancy.

  • Growing uterus –

    Another major factor that causes swelling during pregnancy is the expansion of the uterus. Your uterus grows along with your baby’s growth which leads to a slight pressure on the veins. This blocks the return of blood from your legs to the heart.

  • Changing hormones –

    During pregnancy mothers also experience change of hormones that weakens the walls of veins, making the body softer and prone to swelling.

Although swelling can occur at any point during pregnancy, it gains prominence around the fifth month and can increase when you are in the third trimester. Therefore, let’s examine the factors that cause leg swelling in pregnancy:

  • To prevent excessive fluid build-up and swelling, follow a low-salt diet.

  • Exercise your legs regularly in order to reduce ballooning of your feet.

  • Avoid standing for prolonged periods to reduce strain on your legs.

  • Wear comfortable shoes and supportive tights.

  • Rest your legs on pillows while you’re lying down.

  • Refrain wearing clothes that are tight near your ankles or wrists.

  • Drink loads of water. This helps in flushing water out of the body and reduce water retention.

  • Avoid going out when it is hot.

Now that you’re aware of the factors that cause leg swelling during pregnancy, ensure that you keep them in check. Although, this may not readily reduce the discomfort, but will certainly ease your distress and prepare you for your due date.

Similar to the swelling in legs, feet also swell during pregnancy. While you cannot get away with the situation, following a certain checklist can definitely settle your discomfort for the remaining days of pregnancy.

Here’s what you to-be mothers can do when you experience feet swelling during pregnancy:

  • Sleep on your side –

    Sleeping on your side, preferably your left, keeps your kidneys humming along. This helps to remove waste and thereby reduce swelling.

  • Refrain standing or sitting for too long –

    If you’re one of those who likes to move around, then ensure that you take small breaks and rest yourself. If you’re sitting for a long period, then take a short stroll in at least an hour’s gap.

  • Exercise –

    Do some doctor-advised pregnancy exercises like walking, or try swimming.

  • Elevate your feet –

    When you’re resting or sitting, try to keep your legs up on a pillow.

  • Drink water –

    This may seem to be a counterintuitive method of flushing out liquid with liquid, but consuming a minimum of 10 glasses of water daily will help your system remove excess sodium and waste products, thereby reducing swelling.

  • Practice wearing comfy shoes –

    Wear comfortable shoes while going out. Consider wearing them with inserts as they will add comfort to your feet and reduce leg and back pain during pregnancy.

Swollen feet are common side effects of pregnancy and no matter how hideous they look, all these constitute the beginning of a beautiful phase called motherhood. If you experience sudden or severe swelling do not sweat. Consult your doctor but a slight swelling is definitely normal. Follow a proper diet and ensure you don’t stray from the checklist. And before you know it, you’ll slip back into your favorite shoes again, focusing majorly on the little baby toes.

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