Learn More About Your Pregnancy

Swelling During Pregnancy

It’s normal for your body to make  more fluid during pregnancy, especially in the last few months. This can cause slight swelling (called edema), particularly in the legs, feet, and ankles, and in the hands and face. This swelling may be worse at night or during the summer. 

Here are some tips to help you with normal swelling: 

  • When lying down, lie on your left side. 
  • Take breaks during the day to sit with your feet up. 
  • While you sleep, raise your legs slightly with pillows. 
  • Don’t cross your legs when you sit. 
  • Avoid standing or sitting with your feet on the floor for long periods of time. 
  • Stay cool and try not to get overheated. 
  • After long periods of sitting, take a short walk. 
  • Avoid tight clothes or jewelry that may cut off the circulation at your wrists or ankles. 
  • Supportive tights or stockings can help. 
  • Eat the right amount of protein. Too little protein can cause your body to retain fluid. 
  • Limit or avoid very salty foods – salt increases water retention and can be found in high amounts in canned or processed foods. 
  • Drink plenty of water  eight to 10 8 oz glasses of fluids per day. 

Do not take any medication (such as “water pills”) to reduce swelling without first talking to your provider. 

Call your provider if you have severe or sudden swelling, particularly in your hands or in your face around the eyes. Also call your provider if one leg is much more swollen than the other, especially if you also have pain or tenderness in your calf or thigh.