Leg Swelling in Pregnancy: Causes, Normal & Abnormal

It is a common occurrence with a lot of women to notice Leg Swelling in Pregnancy. While this is common, it can be a cause of concern for pregnant women, especially first time pregnancies and can cause a lot of discomfort.

Today, we are going to talk about the leg swelling in pregnancy, if it is normal or abnormal, as well as the tips to relieve the discomfort felt from the swelling.

Is Leg Swelling Normal During Pregnancy?

Yes it is very normal, swelling that comes gradually isn’t usually harmful to your baby but it can uncomfortable

What Causes Leg Swelling In Pregnancy?

It often occurs because the body generates extra fluid during pregnancy to help support the baby. Also circulation slows down which can also add to the build up of fluid.

The feet and ankle swell up because the womb expands with the growing baby, putting pressure on the drainage of the veins of the legs as fluid doesn’t flow up well, so they remain on the legs.

Leg Swelling in Pregnancy

Anaemia, malnutrition, liver diseases, hypertension/pre-eclampsia, excessive body water, and kidney diseases are other conditions that can cause this leg swelling during pregnancy, so you should be prompt with your antenatal care visits and see your doctor when worried.

When Is Leg Swelling in Pregnancy Most Common?

Leg swelling is most common in the later stages of 2nd-3rd trimester of pregnancy.
The reason being the womb and baby is getting bigger and putting more pressure on the legs.

Other Factors That Contribute To Leg Swelling

There are other factors that contribute to leg swelling in pregnancy such as;

  1. Hot weather
  2. Caffeine intake
  3. Not drinking enough water
  4. Not eating well (Dietary Imbalance)
  5. Being on your feet for a long time

Normal leg swelling in pregnancy follows a pattern which is;

  1. Appears gradually
  2. It’s worse in hot weather
  3. It appears worse at nights
  4. It lessens when you lie down or raise your feet.
  5. Leg swelling is equal on both legs.

Do we have Abnormal Leg Swelling in Pregnancy

Yes, there can be leg swelling in pregnancy that is Abnormal.

  1. Swollen feet can be a sign of “PRE-ECLAMPSIA”. A condition that can develop during pregnancy causing dangerously high blood pressure and loss of proteins in the Urine.

The Signs of Pre-Eclampsia Include:

  • Sudden swelling of the hands, feet, face or around the eyes
  • Swelling that gets dramatically worse
  • Severe headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty Breathing

You can read more about Pre-Eclampsia here.

  1. If you notice swelling in one foot that is associated with pain, redness or heat, it could be “DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS”. A condition where a blood clot blocks a vein in the leg.

Home Remedies To Reduce Leg Swelling in Pregnancy

The following tips would help you improve the discomfort you have from the leg swelling. They are;

  1. Reduce caffeine intake
  2. Drink more water
  3. Raise your leg and rest
  4. Wear loose and comfortable clothing
  5. Walk around
  6. Wear comfortable shoes not tight
  7. Sleep on your left side
  8. Avoid standing for a long time

Now if you don’t feel comfortable with your leg swelling, See your doctor.

Remain blessed!

Feel free to ask any questions you might have!


  • Dr. Echibuogu Nelson Tochukwu

    Dr. Echibuogu Nelson Tochukwu currently works as a medical officer at Prince Of Peace Specialist Hospital in Lagos. He holds an MBBS Degree from the Abia State University. He is a story teller, script writer and a lover of sport. You can follow him on twitter below.

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