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It's normal to get some swelling in pregnancy, particularly in your legs, ankles, feet and fingers and vulvar. It's often worse at the end of the day and further into your pregnancy. Swelling is caused by your body holding more water than usual when you're pregnant. Throughout the day the extra water tends to gather in the lowest parts of the body, especially if the weather is hot or you have been standing a lot. The pressure of your growing womb can also affect the blood flow in your legs. This can cause fluid to build up in your legs, ankles and feet. Swelling that comes on gradually isn't usually harmful to you or your baby, but it can be uncomfortable.

A sudden increase in swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon after the birth.These could be symptoms of pre-eclampsia, which can lead to serious complications if it's not monitored and treated.  Call your midwife, obstetrician or GP immediately if you have the following symptoms:

  • a sudden increase in swelling in your face, hands or feet

  • a very bad headache

  • problems with your vision, such as blurring or flashing lights in your eyes

  • severe pain just below your ribs

  • vomiting with any of these symptoms.

With Physiotherapy, treatment may consist of:

-effluerage massage to

  • reduce pain and swelling

  • increase lymphatic drainage

  • increase endorphins, serotonin and dopamine

  • decrease cortisol

-education on positional changes

-education on safe exercises to reduce swelling

-advice on compression garments

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