CircleBumpCheckedFilledMedicalBookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxCheckBoxFilled

How to Ease Vaginal Swelling During Pregnancy

Swollen hands and feet are par for the course—but believe it or not, having a swollen vagina during pregnancy is pretty common too. Here’s why, and what to do.
save article
profile picture of Korin Miller
Published February 13, 2020
uncomfortable pregnant woman in bed
Image: Treasures & Travels

Swelling is a common side effect of pregnancy, especially when it comes to your feet and hands. But there’s one area that can also swell during pregnancy that doesn’t get a lot of attention: Your vagina. If you notice you have a swollen vagina during pregnancy, know you’re not the only woman going through this! Still, we’re guessing you might have questions about why this is happening. Here’s what you need to know, plus how to minimize the swelling and ease any discomfort.

Symptoms of Vaginal Swelling During Pregnancy

Every woman and every pregnancy is different—which means the symptoms of vaginal swelling during pregnancy can differ from person to person. In general, though, you might experience the following:

Noticeable swelling. You’re probably familiar on at least some level with what your vulva and vaginal area usually feels like. If it’s swollen, it can feel noticeably bigger or puffier, says Frederick Friedman, Jr., MD, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. “There may just be a general feeling of swelling or fullness in the vaginal area,” adds Julie Lamppa, APRN, CNM, a certified nurse midwife at Mayo Clinic, which can lead to overall discomfort.

Bumps. Some women who experience vaginal swelling during pregnancy can have varicose veins surface in their vulvar area, which can cause swelling and a bumpy feel down there, Lamppa says.

Itchiness. This isn’t the case for every woman, but itchiness can sometimes accompany vaginal swelling, Lamppa says.

What Causes Vaginal Swelling During Pregnancy?

There are several reasons why you might develop vaginal swelling in pregnancy. Here are some of the most common ones:

Related Video

An increase in blood volume. Your blood volume increases during pregnancy to help support the growing baby. As your uterus grows, there’s also an increase in pressure of the blood vessels in your pelvis, Lamppa explains. The combination of these two things can lead to swelling.

Varicose veins in your vulva. Varicose veins are swollen, bumpy veins that develop when valves let blood pool in one spot or flow backward. Just like you can develop varicose veins in your legs, you can also develop these in your vulva during pregnancy, Lamppa says. “These aren’t dangerous, but they can be alarming to women when they suddenly show up.”

A yeast infection. Yeast infections are common among moms-to-be, and they can also lead to a swollen vagina during pregnancy, Friedman says. “The inflammation that results from the infection can cause more swelling,” he explains.

Excess fluid. Excess fluid can get trapped in your body’s tissues during pregnancy, and that can cause swelling down there, Friedman says.

How to Reduce Vaginal Swelling During Pregnancy

If you suspect that your vaginal swelling is due to excess fluid, compression or support stockings might help. “There are products on the market that you can buy that give vulvar support,” Lamppa says. (Just check in with your doctor first to make sure it’s okay for you to use.)

For direct relief, Lamppa recommends applying a cool pack directly to your vulva. That should help with discomfort as well as cut down on some of the swelling.

If you’re experiencing vaginal swelling along with symptoms of a yeast infection—such as an itchy vaginal area during pregnancy, accompanied by white vaginal discharge—Lamppa recommends seeing your doctor for an evaluation. If they determine that you do, in fact, have a yeast infection, your care provider will likely recommend that you use an over-the-counter cream.

How to Prevent Vaginal Swelling During Pregnancy

Sorry, but there isn’t a ton you can do to lower the odds you’ll experience vaginal swelling during pregnancy, given that it’s a normal side effect of being pregnant, Lamppa says. However, doing your best to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time may be helpful, Friedman suggests.

While it’s pretty common, it’s a good idea to flag any vaginal swelling during pregnancy for your care provider so they can help pinpoint the cause and get you sweet relief ASAP.

Updated January 2020

Expert bios:

Frederick Friedman, Jr., MD, is an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He also serves as director for both the division of obstetrics and the division of generalists in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Mount Sinai Health System, and maintains a clinical practice in general obstetrics and gynecology.

Julie Lamppa, APRN, CNM, is a certified nurse midwife and medical editor at Mayo Clinic, and maintains a midwifery practice in Rochester, New York.

*Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances. *

save article
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

pregnant woman sitting on couch with feet up
How to Relieve Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
closeup of hands on pregnant belly
How to Relieve Swollen Hands During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman holding a hot cup of tea
How to Relieve a Sore Throat in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
toilet paper holder on red background
Why You Might Have Blood in Your Stool While Pregnant
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman holding ultrasound photo over belly
How Much Does the Uterus Grow in Pregnancy?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman sitting on couch with blanket
Why You Might Be Feeling Cold in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
smiling pregnant woman feeling belly while sitting on couch at home
7 Ways to Get Baby to Move in Utero
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
pregnant woman drinking a glass of water
Why You Might Have a Dry Mouth in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman with round ligament pain
What Round Ligament Pain Feels Like—and How to Find Relief
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman with hip pain sleeping with pregnancy pillow
What to Do About Hip Pain During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
tired pregnant woman napping on the couch
Pregnancy Fatigue: Why You're Exhausted—and What to Do About It
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
close up of pregnant woman with hands on lower back
How to Relieve Back Pain in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman wearing a bikini on the beach
What’s the Deal With So-Called ‘Pregnancy Glow?’
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
pensive pregnant woman looking down by sunny window
How to Treat (and Prevent) a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
close up of pregnant belly, side view
How Your Vaginal Discharge Can Change During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
doctor checking woman's eyes with flashlight
Why You Might Experience Some Blurry Vision in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman resting in bed
What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome in Pregnancy?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
pregnant woman looking down and holding belly at home
When Do You Start Showing in Pregnancy?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
woman reading pregnancy test result
Is It Possible to Have No Pregnancy Symptoms?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
woman opening toilet lid
What Causes Cloudy Urine in Pregnancy?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List