Caused by rising hormones, edema is a very common condition and is experienced by about 50% of women sometime during their pregnancy. It can happen any time but tends to be worse in the third trimester. It is the result of the production of more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. Normal swelling is typically experienced in the hands, face, legs, ankles and feet. This fluid is necessary to soften the body and allow expansion as the baby develops. Fluid also helps to prepare the pelvic joints and tissues to open for birth. The extra fluid accounts for about 25% of the weight women gain during pregnancy.