Swollen legs during pregnancy: Tips on how to alleviate the discomfort

Ankles, legs and feet swelling up during pregnancy is a common problem, especially during the third trimester. However, the swelling can happen at any time during pregnancy, sometimes together with itching or pain.

Jenny Jansson

2 min read

Reviewed by Jenny Jansson

Certified midwife

Swollen legs during pregnancy: Tips on how to alleviate the discomfortPhoto:Preggers

Most often, the swelling is caused by the growing uterus that presses against the large veins at the spine that carry blood from the legs back to the heart. As a result, blood flow decreases and more fluid accumulates in the legs. Swelling during pregnancy is usually completely harmless, but can still feel uncomfortable. Here is some advice on how to prevent and alleviate swelling during pregnancy:

  • Avoid standing or sitting for extended periods.
  • Place your feet on a stool when you sit.
  • Take a walk, cycle or swim daily to increase blood circulation.
  • Sleep with your feet raised or sleep on your left side to relieve the pressure on the veins that carry blood from the lower body to the heart.
  • Wear a support hose or compression hose. Put them on as soon as you wake up. Compression hoses provide the best support and reduce the risk of varicose veins and blood clots during pregnancy.

Even though swelling is a common problem during pregnancy, you should be cautious if the swelling occurs suddenly, is painful, or if it only affects one leg. This could be a sign of high blood pressure or a blood clot, either way, you need to contact your doctor.

Jenny Jansson

Reviewed by Jenny Jansson

Certified midwife

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