Edema: Swollen Feet, Ankles, and Hands During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body produces about 50 percent more blood and other body fluids to assist your baby grow. (In fact, about 25 percent of your pregnancy weight gain is from fluid retention– take that, double cheeseburger and fries!) And some of that additional fluid is mosting likely to fill up your tissues, particularly in your hands, feet, legs and ankles.

What do all these fluids do? They help soften your body, permitting your joints and tissues to open up and prepare for delivery. You’ll generally see more swelling around your fifth month and lasting through the 3rd trimester.

Why are my ankles and feet so swollen during pregnancy?

What you’re experiencing is edema– that’s when excess fluid collects in your tissue. It’s typical to have a certain amount of swelling during pregnancy due to the fact that you’re retaining more water. Changes in your blood chemistry likewise cause some fluid to shift into your tissue.

In addition, your growing uterus puts pressure on your pelvic veins and your vena cava (the large vein on the right side of the body that brings blood from your lower limbs back to the heart). The pressure slows the return of blood from your legs, causing it to pool, which forces fluid from your veins into the tissues of your feet and ankles.

For this factor, edema is probably to trouble you during the third trimester. It may be particularly severe for women with excessive amniotic fluid or those bring multiples. Edema likewise has the tendency to be even worse at the end of the day and during the summer season.

After you provide your baby, the swelling will disappear fairly rapidly as your body removes the excess fluid. You might discover yourself urinating frequently and sweating a lot in the first days after childbirth.

When should I be worried about swelling during pregnancy?

A certain amount of edema is typical in the ankles and feet during pregnancy. You may also have some mild swelling in your hands.

Call your midwife or doctor if you discover swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than small swelling of your hands, or extreme or unexpected swelling of your feet or ankles. This could be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious condition.

Also call your caretaker promptly if you discover that a person leg is significantly more swollen than the other, specifically if you have any pain or inflammation in your calf or thigh. This could signify a blood clot, another serious condition.

What can I do to reduce swelling during pregnancy?

You can help alleviate the increased pressure on your veins by lying on your side, according to iytmed.com. Considering that the vena cava is on the right side of your body, resting on your left side works best, however either side will do.

Here are some other suggestions:

  • Put your feet up whenever possible. At work, it helps to keep a stool or stack of books under your desk.
  • Do not cross your legs or ankles while sitting.
  • Stretch your legs frequently while sitting: Stretch your leg out, heel first, and gently bend your foot to stretch your calf muscles. Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes.
  • Take routine breaks from sitting or standing. A brief walk occasionally will help keep your blood from pooling in your lower extremities.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that stretch to accommodate any swelling in your feet.
  • Do not use socks or stockings that have tight bands around the ankles or calves.
  • Attempt waist-high maternity support stockings. Put them on prior to you rise in the morning so blood does not have a chance to pool around your ankles.
  • Drink plenty of water. Surprisingly, this helps your body retain less water.
  • Workout regularly, specifically by walking, swimming, or riding an exercise bike. Or attempt a water aerobics class– immersion in water might briefly help in reducing swelling, especially if the water level is up near your shoulders.
  • Eat well, and prevent processed food.
  • Attempt not to let the swelling get you down. The sight of your swollen ankles will probably add to your sensation of ungainliness, however edema is a temporary condition that will pass not long after you give birth.


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