Pregnancy Swelling: What You Can Do

Pregnancy is such a beautiful time … you’re glowing, you have your little love kicking inside you, and–oh yeah– you feel like a balloon. Pregnancy swelling can be a frustrating part of pregnancy, especially during your third trimester, when you just want your little one in your arms! Don’t fret, mama. Here are some safe ways to help manage that painful pregnancy swelling.

What Is It

According to the American Pregnancy Association, during your pregnancy, your body produces roughly 50 percent more blood and bodily fluids. This is, of course, to support baby, but the extra retention of fluid is also needed to soften your body so it can expand as baby develops. The resulting swelling from this extra fluid is a completely normal (albeit painful!) part of pregnancy. Most moms begin to notice swelling around the 5th month, but tend to really see the effects of it in their 3rd Trimester.  

All that being said, a sudden swelling in your hands and face can be signs of preeclampsia. In cases of noticeably sudden swelling, it’s incredibly important to contact your healthcare provider to keep you and baby safe!

So if it’s a totally normal effect of pregnancy, is there anything you can do? Absolutely! There are many different ways to manage pregnancy swelling, whether it’s something you avoid or add to your daily routine.


What to Avoid

Heat: High temperatures (like those in the summer, during a too-warm bath or in a sauna) can increase the intensity of swelling. If you’re enjoying a summer pregnancy, be sure to limit your time outdoors, especially in direct sunlight. Make sure you’re staying incredibly hydrated, and give your body lots of time to cool off.

Caffeine: While pregnant women should be steering pretty clear of caffeine as is, it can also really add to your swelling situation. It is recommended that pregnant women consume no more than 200mg of caffeine a day–however, if you’re experiencing painful swelling, you might want to cut that down even further.

Sodium: High amounts of salt and sodium can make anyone feel swollen, but especially pregnant moms. Try to avoid the salty snacks in the 3rd trimester–trust us.


What to Do

Hydrate: We can’t stress this one enough. Water intake is always important, but especially during pregnancy. Make sure you’re getting at least 6-8 glasses of water (8 oz. each) a day.  If it’s hot out, or you’re really feeling the swelling, up that to 2-4 additional glasses or more.

Put your feet up: When you’re growing a human, you deserve some relaxation. But it has extra benefits when dealing with pregnancy swelling. Most moms experience the swelling the worst in their legs, ankles and feet, so prop your feet up on a chair or some pillows and feel that relief. Extra points for using a foot soak or leg ease cooling spray first.

There are many things you can do to relieve pregnancy swelling and make your third trimester more enjoyable. If your swelling ever seems abnormal or especially painful, it can be worth giving a call to your healthcare provider to be extra safe. But just remember–you’re almost there, and it will be SO worth it!