Why Your Legs Swell During Pregnancy and What You Can Do

Many pregnant women experience swelling of fingers, legs and ankles when pregnant.

For some,it can be so massive but for others,it is mild- just little swelling.
Puffiness in the face and neck can also occur—especially after the 20th week.

This swelling often happens especially in hot weather(hot days) and when you spend a lot of time standing due to your work. Bankers ,teachers and others who stand a lot at work are affected.

Why it happens.

1) This swelling happens in pregnancy because your body is holding more water than usual.By the third trimester, the weight of your uterus puts so much pressure on your pelvic veins and the vena cava (the large vein on the right side of your body that carries blood from your legs and feet back up to your heart), that blood can pool, forcing fluid into your tissues thereby swelling in those areas.

2) Your body produces note of some hormones when you are pregnant and this affects your blood chemistry which causes water to shift into your tissues.

3) Drinking water during pregnancy doesn’t cause swelling,contrary to what some people tell you.The institute of medicine recommends drinking at least 2.3 liters of fluid during the day when pregnant. And this is even more necessary especially during hot days when you sweat a lot.

What You Can Do

There are a few things you can do if you have swelling during pregnancy.

1. Get active. Exercise like walking,riding a stationary bicycle,and any comfortable exercise that would get your circulation up and aid venous return.

2.Avoid long standing. Do not stand for too long to avoid swelling.You can sit at intervals at work ,or at any other function.

3.Elevate your legs.When at home,you can elevate your legs on a stool/chair,when sleeping you can elevate them.on a soft pillow.

4.Sleeping on your side.You can try sleeping on your left side.This is thought to assist the release of pressure on the vena cava that returns blood to the heart,thereby helping to reduce the edema(swelling)

Signs That Should Worry You

Below are certain things you should be worried about,and also try to see your doctor if they happen with the swelling.

1.Although mild foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy is normal, sudden swelling that is painful — especially if it is only in one leg — could be a symptom of a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis).

A sudden increase in swelling also might mean that your blood pressure is higher than normal, which could be a sign of preeclampsia. Both conditions require prompt evaluation and treatment.

These are risk factors of pre-eclampsia
-If you haven’t have any child before
-If you are 40 years and above
-a 10-year gap since your last pregnancy
-a family history of pre-eclampsia
-If you have had pre-eclampsia before
-a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above
-If you have kidney disease
-a multiple pregnancy (having more than one baby)
-If you have blood pressure before pregnancy

2.If you have headache and you are not able to see clearly(blurred vision).

3.If you notice chest pain and difficulty in breathing.

4.Vomiting

I hope this article has helped you to know what happens and what might happen to you when you get pregnant. So it’s nothing to lose sleep for,don’t worry too much about it as it is normal most times.
The swelling usually clears after about 24 hours after delivery.

Have you ever had this experience during your pregnancy?
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