Pregnancy Week 38: Feelin’ Swell

Pregnancy Week 38: Feelin' SwellWith each pregnancy comes new things to discover about your body. This week, I am discovering the side effect of swelling. With my first pregnancy, I didn’t swell at all. I had a cute baby bump and was never too big. This time around, my feet are like giant sausages or life preservers. My ankles have disappeared, and my baby bump continues to grow even now, at an alarming speed. So, how do you combat the swelling and still feel beautiful during your third trimester?

What causes swelling in pregnancy?

So, you’ve heard that your body is pumping more blood when you’re pregnant. But, did you know that your body produces close to 50 percent more blood and body fluids to meet baby’s needs when you’re pregnant? Whoa. Swelling occurs because of this extra blood and fluid. Edema, which is normal swelling in pregnancy, can occur in the hands, face, legs, ankles, and feet.  Which reminds me, my wedding rings are getting awfully hard to take off and on.  Swelling usually is most intense during your last trimester and typically occurs more in women with excessive amniotic fluid or carrying multiples. According to, edema is also worse in the summer. Well, let’s see. I am pregnant in the heat of the summer, in my third trimester, and as far as I know, there is just one baby in there. So, I guess this swelling is normal.

Solutions to Swelling

  • Elevate your feet as much as possible. At home, I’ve been putting my feet on top of a giant stack of pillows. Now you have an excuse to sit down.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that stretch. If you’re one of those amazingly stylish pregnant women, take a break from the heels.
  • Get active!  Take a walk or get into swimming. Getting a little exercise will actually help, not hurt. And when you swim, the water pressure actually helps redistribute the fluid in your body!
  • Watch your diet. Try to eat a healthy diet and avoid typical junk foods.
  • Keep the area around your feet and ankles loose. No tight socks or hose.
  • Avoid crossing your legs and ankles while sitting.

The good news it that after giving birth, the swelling will go away. It’s normal to use the bathroom frequently or sweat more than usual after childbirth. This is just the fluid leaving your body.

Try to remember that even though you are very pregnant and puffy, you are still beautiful. This is a challenge for me lately. Pregnancy brings many, many body changes, but it’s still you under all of that change. Embrace your new body, puffy cankles and all. Remember that you are still a glowing woman carrying a miracle. Two more weeks until my due date! I think I’ll go put my feet up and relax and try not to stare at my giant feet, of course.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way. She loves being pregnant but could do without the cankles. It’s all worth it, though!

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