A lot of people who've been pregnant can tell you that just about everything swells when you're growing a human inside your body. After a pregnant Beyoncé's May 2017 social media posts showed what some believed to be the benefit of probably expensive lip injections, though, it seemed like everyone was asking one very specific question: Do your lips really swell during pregnancy? So, what's the real deal. Was Beyoncé just experiencing another adverse affect of pregnancy, or was there more going on behind her new, pouty look?
Those much-talked about Queen Bey pictures prompted Glamour to ask OB-GYN Sherry Ross, MD, about it. Dr. Ross says "Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy, and it happens in just about every part of your body, including your lips." It is well understood that an increase in overall blood volume occurs in pregnancy, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). So whether swollen lips, swollen hands, or swollen just about anything else happens to you in pregnancy, consider the pregnancy side-effect to be normal. My expecting friend, you've just joined the swollen club! Welcome. We don't have t-shirts, but at least you know that Beyoncé is a member.
It's not just the lips on your face that can become swollen as a result of pregnancy. Yes, people, your swollen labia lips are a thing, too, says Parents Magazine. Katie Bolt, M.D., an OB-GYN at Partners in Ob/GYN Care at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, says that your labia might feel swollen even if it doesn't look that way. Which, Dr. Bolt continued, may help increase the severity and frequency of your orgasms, too. Hey, not all pregnancy side-effects are bad, my friends.
All joking aside, though, pregnancy swelling of all sorts of body parts — which is called edema — is norma, but is there a time when a pregnant person would need to worry about swelling? The short answer, unfortunately, is yes.
BabyCenter says the main concern when it comes to pregnancy-induced swelling is preeclampsia. Preeclampsia, according to BabyCenter, is "a pregnancy complication that causes high blood pressure, kidney damage, and other problems. Preeclampsia is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects about 5 percent of pregnant women in the United States." BabyCenter goes on to say that you should call your healthcare provider right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: "facial swelling, puffiness around your eyes, more than moderate swelling of your hands, excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles." It is considered an emergency if one leg is significantly more swollen than the other, or you experience pain in one leg.
If you don't have any of these warning signs, and would like to try reducing swelling at home, you may have some success with home remedies such as putting your feet up, regular exercise, and drinking plenty of water. But I wouldn't count on those swollen lips going down completely until after the baby is born.