In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

Back Pain and Swelling

Round ligament pain will cause new symptoms as your belly grows and your posture changes
Back Pain and Swelling
Credit: Martin Novak ©
Wednesday October 9, 2019

Week 23 is a little over halfway through your pregnancy, and you have passed some fun milestones like looking pregnant and feeling those first kicks. However, this is when the reality of your changing body and hormones starts to kick in, and some of pregnancy's not so lovely realities begin, like fuzzy thinking, cravings, and insomnia.

As your uterus grows, it will vie for space in your already crowded abdomen. At this point, you might begin to experience some rib pain as your uterus moves up as much as 2 inches and your lowest ribs start to expand. You might want to stand up to allow your midsection to expand and accommodate your growing baby or relieve some of the pressure on your rib cage.

Also, your circulation is starting to get slightly sluggish, thanks to changes in your blood chemistry and water retention. These changes can cause swelling or edema in your ankles and feet, so much that you might begin to notice your once comfy shoes now feel a size too small. For the most part, some minor swelling is normal, and while uncomfortable, it isn't anything to get worked up over. Your body will flush this extra fluid from your body after the baby is born, which will lead to excessive sweating and frequent urination. You can take some steps to help decrease the swelling or increase your comfort.

Reducing Swelling

  • Put your feet up when you can
  • Stretch your legs out and avoid crossing them while sitting
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods
  • Exercise regularly to increase circulation
  • Purchase compression socks or support hose and wear them daily before the swelling is bad
  • Wear the right-sized shoes even if it means buying a new pair or wearing flip flops
  • Keep drinking water; while it may not be intuitive, staying hydrated will help prevent fluid retention

Excessive swelling can be a sign of a serious complication in pregnancy known as preeclampsia. So you must notify your caregiver if you notice excessive swelling, sudden swelling, or swelling of the face and puffiness around the eyes.

Reference Sources

  1. I'm Pregnant!: A Week-by-Week Guide from Conception to Birth
  1. American Pregnancy Association - Week 23