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How to Avoid Leg Swelling During Pregnancy
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How to Avoid Leg Swelling During Pregnancy
Do your shoes feel tighter and legs feel heavy? This may be caused by leg edemas during pregnancy.

The swelling in your legs and feet may vary due to weather or just the time of day. Have you been walking or standing a lot recently? You may notice your legs are more swollen.


During pregnancy, body fluids and blood flow increase to nurture your baby. Your growing belly puts pressure on your veins, especially the vena cava. The vena cava is the large vein that returns blood from your lower limbs back toward your heart. 


Although uncomfortable, leg swelling during pregnancy is normal and not dangerous. The swelling will increase and subside, however, if the swelling persists for more than a day contact your foot doctor. If the constant swelling is accompanied by increased blood pressure, it might be a symptom of preeclampsia. Your doctor will check for protein in the urine and the condition of your liver and kidneys. 


Swelling in the legs begins around the 20th week of pregnancy and lingers till the birth of your baby. Fortunately, there are some ways to avoid the swelling and relieve some of the pressure in your legs. 

  • Avoid standing for too long: Standing causes fluids to accumulate in the legs and feet, causing them to swell. 

  • Sit with your legs elevated: Try supporting your legs with a pillow to allow the fluid to drain from the legs and pump back into the heart. For this to work, it is ideal for your legs to be elevated above your heart level. Do this several times a day to avoid swelling in your legs.

  • Drink water: If your body is hydrated well it is less likely to retain water. You should drink half your body weight in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day. This is about 4 standard bottles of water. Try keeping a water bottle with you at all times to help you remember to drink more water. 

You can also introduce water into your body with fruits, vegetables, or unsweetened teas, such as green tea. 

  • Move around: Moving your legs and your body helps pump the fluids retained in your legs back to your heart. Try walking, yoga, or swimming to increase muscle activity and get your body fluids moving. 

  • Wear comfy shoes: Find shoes that are deep, wide, and stretchy. Try shoes with a top strap that can be adjusted as your feet swell. You can also use compression stockings to reduce swelling. Your podiatrist can recommend the right shoes for edemas.

  • Limit salt intake: Too much salt causes your body to retain water. When there is too much salt in your body, the body wants to create a balance and draws water from your cells into your bloodstream. 

  • Avoid the heat: Heat makes your body well. If possible, avoid the heat if you experience swelling in your legs and feet. Heat causes the blood vessels to dilate. Fluids move out of the blood vessels and legs swell. 

Although leg swelling during pregnancy is uncomfortable, it is usually normal and not dangerous. If you want to relieve discomfort, contact your podiatrist to get help with the swelling in your legs and feet. 

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