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Erika Rasmusson Janes

Swelling During Pregnancy

Seem like everything’s getting bigger lately, not just your belly? What could be causing your swelling and how to reduce it.

What is swelling during pregnancy?

Swelling is an abnormal enlargement of a body part or organ. Edema is swelling with fluid. Approximately 75 percent of pregnant women experience swelling during pregnancy, says Mary L. Rosser, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

What might be causing my swelling during pregnancy?

It’s hard to say — it could be nothing. But thyroid disorders (such as  hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism), DVT (deep vein thrombosis), an  allergy or infection (such as  cytomegalovirus or toxoplasmosis),  preeclampsia and  pregnancy-induced hypertension can all cause swelling too.

When should I go to the doctor with swelling during pregnancy?

If your swelling is in your feet and ankles, and it gets better after you rest and elevate your feet for a while, then it’s probably nothing to worry about, Rosser says. But if it lingers, or it’s in your hands or face, it may be a sign of preeclampsia — a serious condition — so call your doctor.

How can I treat swelling during pregnancy?

Rest, elevate your feet and increase your fluids. (“People think that will cause you to retain more water, but it actually helps to flush the fluid out of your body,” Rosser says.) Wearing compression stockings can help too.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Swollen Hands During Pregnancy

Numbness or Tingling During Pregnancy