OB-GYN (Obstetrician-Gynecologist) Questions Swelling

Excessive swelling in my legs during the seventh month of my pregnancy. What should I do?

I am having excessive swelling in my legs as I am currently in my seventh month of pregnancy. Till now I was absolutely active with no problems, however now this swelling is troubling me a lot. What can I do about it?

5 Answers

Unfortunately probably not a lot you can do. Most likely due to the hormones of pregnancy especially if you are going to have an above sized baby. Limiting your salt intake probably won't do much (don't use excess either). Only concern is if you start to experience signs or symptoms of preeclampsia(headaches, visual spotting, increasing high blood pressure). You can discuss with your OB provider. While almost all women with preeclampsia swell most women with swelling will not get preeclampsia.

Otherwise just drink to comfort. Drinking excess fluids to 'flush' your system out is a fallacy and you will just urinate more. Elevating your legs will help some but generally as soon as you stop it will return. Rest assured as long as your blood pressure behaves it will go away after delivery. And unfortunately yes, it can get worse.
Mild swelling of the lower extremities is common in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. However it could indicate a problem if it affects only one extremity or if it is associated with elevated blood pressure, severe headaches, visual symptoms or upper abominal pain.
Blood clots can occur during pregnancy due to the high levels of estrogen and may present as swelling and pain in a lower extremity. A Doppler ultrasound study is sometimes ordered if this problem is suspected. Swelling in association with other symptoms such as headaches or visual symptoms and elevated blood pressure may represent the clinical syndrome of preeclampsia which can have serious consequences for mother and baby. Induction of labor is sometimes performed if pre eclampsia is diagnosed.
Evaluation by your Obstetric provider is advisable to make sure these other serious problems are not present and the swelling is due to the physiologic changes of pregnancy. Regular prenatal care is necessary to make sure your blood pressure is normal and your pregnancy is progressing as it should.
If these other serious problems are not a concern, then elevation of the lower extremities and compression stockings can be helpful in alleviating symptoms.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists publishes a patient information site that can be accessed by typing ACOG FAQ into your search tool bar. PDFs on various pregnancy topics are available there.
Hope this was helpful
Good Luck!
Dr. Chunjai Clarkson
You need to have your blood pressure checked and have your urine and blood checked for signs of pre-eclampsia. You can use support hose for comfort. Watch your weight gain! Make sure you are getting enough rest each day (at least 8 hours)!
Have prenatal check ups regularly. Try to elevate your legs whenever you get the chance and wear support stockings.
Swelling of the feet is normal in last few months of pregnancy and is due to the compression caused by the enlarged uterus on the veins in your pelvis, causing blood to stagnate in the lower legs. Lie down with legs propped on a few pillows or up against the wall (google "legs up the wall yoga" and click on images) for 15-30 min 2-3 times throughout the day, and after being active - you can ask your doc for compression stockings, and if your family members and loved ones offer foot massages please do not turn them down.