Swelling During Pregnancy: When to Worry

Swelling is a common side effect of pregnancy as your due date gets closer. Learn how to get relief and when you need to call a doctor.


Swelling is really common especially in the third trimester and particularly at the lower extremities, so the feet, the calves, sometimes even higher than that. And there's a group of women who will just get that regardless of what they do especially in the summertime it can be bad. Some patients can only wear flip-flops 'cause no other shoes will fit their feet. Best things to do are to elevate your legs obviously. And I don't think adjusting your sodium level is going to help. We get lots of questions about that. I think that you should continue to eat healthfully. There are some patients who can get compression stockings if their swelling becomes really bothersome and it can minimize how much fluid pulls in the lower extremities. Normal lower body swelling in pregnancy is symmetric. That means it's even on both sides. If you notice that one of your legs, your calf in particular, is more swollen than the other, that can be a more worrisome sign of a blood clot. And for that, you need to call your doctor and an ultrasound test of your leg can rule out any presence of a blood clot. Swelling as of 24 weeks and on in a pregnancy sometimes is associated with a condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is typically a combination of findings with elevated blood pressure, protein in the urine, and swelling in the lower extremities in particular are the hallmarks of that disorder. Other signs that people can have can include headaches and blurry vision and upper abdominal pain, but swelling especially if it's a sudden onset of much more severe swelling really of any part of your body you should probably check in with your doctor. Overall, I'd say swelling is really common in pregnancy and can be quite a nuisance. But if there's any question of what's normal or not normal, check in with your doctor.

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