woman on couch

Swelling during pregnancy can occur at any time, but most new mothers begin to notice increased swelling by the fifth month. This normal swelling, called edema, can also increase during the third trimester and is experienced primarily in the feet, ankles, legs, hands, and face.

What causes swelling?

When you are pregnant, your body produces about 50% more blood and body fluids to support the growth of your developing baby. This extra water retention also helps your body expand as your baby grows and requires more room. It even helps prepare your body for birth by preparing your pelvic joint and tissues for delivery.

Swelling can be aggravated by daily routines that require long periods of standing, high levels of caffeine or salt, low levels of potassium, and heat.

How can swelling be reduced?

1. Avoid standing for long periods of time, if possible. At the very least, try to include breaks in which you can elevate your feet 6-12 inches above your heart for at least 15-20 minutes.

2. Avoid beverages that are high in caffeine.

3. Avoid foods that are high in sodium.

4. Eat foods high in potassium such as bananas.

5. Don't forget your prenatal vitamins!

6. Drink plenty of water.

7. Avoid spending a lot of time outdoors in hot weather.

8. Wear comfortable shoes that provide arch support and adequate room for your feet, which will swell throughout the day.

9. Ice swollen areas (such as your ankles).

10. Wear thigh-high support hose or stockings.


What do you think?


Tell us what you think!


  1. Shana says:

    I don’t know what’s worse. the swelling in my feet or my face. I’ve never felt so much water in my body before. I am looking forward to it falling off after birth.

  2. selina says:

    Im 21 weeks and havent had any swelling so far… but my feet hurt at times…

  3. Natalie says:

    38 weeks today and woke up with swollen feet -_- Glad I’m almost done!

  4. Juanita says:

    35 weeks pregnant with twins and my feet stay swollen 🙁

  5. Roma Lee says:

    I don’t have have any swelling yet but my ankles are killing me.

  6. gfeld says:

    This pregnancy my legs started to bother me and signs of veins coming out. Not fun at all!

  7. Maytte says:

    Also another underlying condition can be kidney issues if you have to much protein in your urine. Ask your doctor how your test are. As for me, even if I drink 3 gallon of water a hang upside down the swelling in my legs and hips have not gone down..

  8. Aimee says:

    I’m only 5 1/2 weeks and my legs are swelling. I don’t have any of the other symptoms of preeclampsia. I see my doctor in two more days. Any advice?!?!?

  9. kristi12 says:

    33 weeks and no swelling so far.

  10. MamaCat says:

    30 weeks with my second and the swelling hit the first part of the week. Nothing at all – including the things on the list – have helped. I had the same issue with my first and a lot of that was due to summer heat. I’m ready for 39 weeks now so I can be finished 🙂

  11. verochka31 says:

    34 weeks and five days and READY! love being pregnant but want to meet my second daughter like crazy. I have 3 boys and one girl. my daughter, especially, and all the kids are excited and can’t wait.

  12. PrettyBoogs says:

    22 weeks. So far so good. I am hoping for the very best!

  13. So lucky I am almost 31 weeks and haven’t had any swelling!

  14. Sara says:

    I’ve had a lot a swelling in my feet, ankles, and lower legs since was about 30 wks or so. Now I’m 39 wks, retaining water, and have never been so swollen! I gained 5lbs in a week! 🙁

  15. AmyC says:

    So far my rings still fit most of the time, but my ankles and feet do swell when I’m up and about for to long…

  16. Jeanetta says:

    My first 2 trimesters I worked full time and I stood on concrete 10 hours a night so my feet and legs were so swollen at the end of my shift I thought they would crack open some mornings.

  17. Anna says:

    heat makes my feet and hands swell

  18. rhymes104 says:

    Make sure that if you wear flip flops they have arch supports. My friend had very bad swelling and wore cheap ON flip flops for most of her second and third trimester. Her arch separated from the sole of her foot due to lack of support and she now needs surgery to repair it.
    I am at the end of 6 months, pregnant with twins, and I have found that a good fitting pair of tennis shoes can do wonders for swollen feet. Although normally a normal width shoe wearer I purchased a pair of wide width New Balances for my pregnancy and they have worked wonders.

  19. Julie says:

    Swelling makes it uncomfortable. I wear flip flops all the time..

  20. says:

    water, water, water! And putting my feet up midday really help keep the swelling down.

  21. SammysMOMMY says:

    I feel like my feet get swollen but I think they are just hot because they don’t look puffy.

  22. McKenzie says:

    This is good to know.

  23. Grace says:

    what does protein in the urine look like?


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