The Real Reason Your Feet Swell When Pregnant, And What To Do About It

Pregnancy. A beautiful time when you are growing a human being. Your skin glows, your hair grows like crazy, and, oh yeah, you experience a torrent of unpleasant side effects, ranging from bleeding gums, to indigestion, and you have to pee like every second (via BabyCenter). Meanwhile, swollen feet are also common when you have a bun in the oven.

According to Healthline, this "fun" pregnancy reaction can happen as early as the fifth month of gestation, especially if it's hot outside or you have to be on your feet a lot. But more likely a pregnant woman will experience swollen feet later, during the third trimester. Consider that during pregnancy, your blood volume increases by half, and due to hormones, you are more likely to retain fluid. Is that why your hands look like they belong to someone else? Yup. It's also why your ankles and feet get puffy — and your shoes may feel snug by the time you hit the later months of your pregnancy.

The good news is you can adjust your lifestyle choices to cut down the likelihood of swelling — although, it's not possible to guarantee your extremities won't swell at all.

How to reduce pregnancy related foot swelling and warning signs to look for

Drink fluids! You've heard your doctor remind you to stay hydrated, and reducing foot swelling is another reason to heed this advice, because if you are dehydrated, your body is more likely to retain water. Avoid caffeine, too. According to Kids Health, it's best to stay off your feet for long periods as well to avoid swollen ankles and feet. Remember, this is your chance to sit down and put your feet up, before the baby arrives and his or her needs come first!

Swelling is normal, but there are some warning signs to look out for that can indicate a very serious pregnancy condition called preeclampsia. According to, sudden swelling especially in the face and hands is a reason to call your doctor immediately. If you notice discoloration in your feet, this is also a potential warning sign.

It's also important to know the warning signs of DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, which is a blot clot in the leg more common during pregnancy (via Healthline). The symptoms of a DVT are swelling in just one leg, accompanied by pain, heat, and redness. Seek medical attention right away if you are concerned.