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How can you tell if pregnancy is causing your legs to swell?

ANSWER

By the third trimester, your growing baby puts pressure on the veins in your legs. This slows the circulation of your blood and causes fluid to build up. This can cause mild swelling.

If you notice these other symptoms as well, let your doctor know because it might mean you have a serious condition called preeclampsia:

  • Severe swelling, especially around your eyes
  • Bad headache
  • Vision changes, like blurriness or sensitivity to light

SOURCES:

Alicia Groft, MD, associate professor of medicine, Dartmouth Medical School.

CDC: "National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet."

Ely, J.W. , March-April 2006. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

March of Dimes: "Swelling."

Mayo Clinic: “Leg Swelling.”

National Blood Clot Alliance: "Signs and Symptoms of Blood Clots." 

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?"

National Institutes of Health: "Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency."

Nationwide Children's Hospital: "Swelling: The Body's Reaction to Injury."

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on May 3, 2018

SOURCES:

Alicia Groft, MD, associate professor of medicine, Dartmouth Medical School.

CDC: "National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet."

Ely, J.W. , March-April 2006. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

March of Dimes: "Swelling."

Mayo Clinic: “Leg Swelling.”

National Blood Clot Alliance: "Signs and Symptoms of Blood Clots." 

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?"

National Institutes of Health: "Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency."

Nationwide Children's Hospital: "Swelling: The Body's Reaction to Injury."

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on May 3, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

How can you tell if congestive heart failure is causing your legs to swell?

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