During pregnancy, your body is constantly going through several physical and physiological changes to accommodate and prepare itself for the growth and development of the fetus. Some of these changes may take you completely by surprise and be a cause for major worry as you wouldn’t have anticipated them. However, most of these are common changes that every expecting mother may experience. For some it may be subtle and for others, more pronounced.
Edema Or Swelling During Pregnancy
Swelling of ankles is a common problem during pregnancy. Medically termed as Edema, swelling can occur on the face, neck and hands – especially after the 20th week. Around 75% of pregnant women experience swelling and in most cases there is no cause for serious concern.
What Causes Bleeding During Pregnancy?
- During pregnancy, there is a 50% increase in the production of blood other fluids to meet the needs of the growing baby. This sudden spike often leads to excess accumulation of fluids in the tissues that could result in edema.
- Around the third trimester, the weight of the growing uterus puts pressure on the pelvic veins and veins that carry blood from the legs and feet back to the heart. This restricts blood circulation and results in fluid retention below the knee, causing swelling in the legs, feet and ankles.
- Rapid hormonal changes occurring in the body could also trigger the swelling.
What You Can Anticipate If You Have Edema?
- Swelling normally occurs during the third trimester
- Swelling intensifies as the day progresses and is more prominent in the evenings
- Heat and fatigue can add to the problem. So you can expect it to be worse during the summer months
When To Worry?
Normally edema is harmless and no cause for serious worry. But it could need immediate medical attention if it is accompanied by other symptoms like:
- Prolonged and persistent headache accompanied by blurring of vision or sensitivity to light.
- More swelling in one leg than the other, accompanied by pain in the thigh and calf, signals a blood clot.
- Swelling around the eyes and in the face along with the swelling in the feet, ankles and fingers could be a symptom of a complication called preeclampsia and a cause for worry
- Swelling with breathlessness could mean heart trouble
10 Tips To Keep Swelling Under Control
Drink Plenty Of Water
A minimum of 8-10 glasses of water is required during pregnancy to flush out the toxins and eliminate sodium from the system. This has an indirect impact in reducing swelling.
Wear Comfortable Footwear
During pregnancy, the feet tend to expand and your foot wear may no longer fit you. Wearing ill-fitting or tight shoes increases swelling. Therefore, always make it a point to invest in a pair of comfortable and breathe-easy shoes preferably flat ones.
Short walks, stretching now and then will improve blood circulation and keep swelling under control. However, before you start on any exercise regime, it is advisable to consult with the doctor.
No Tight Socks Or Stockings
Body clinging socks and stockings that are tight around the ankles will restrict blood flow and only add to your woes.
Cut Down On Salt
Reduce consumption of salt and avoid eating pre-packaged and processed food. Salt can cause water retention and increase swelling.
Eat A Well-Balanced Diet
Include foods that are natural diuretics (making you pass out urine) in your diet. Apple, peas, cabbage, watermelon and citrus fruits helps the body to flush out the toxins and keeps the kidneys
Avoid Standing Or Sitting For Long Periods
Being sedentary will reduce blood circulation and restrict easy blood flow. If your work involves sitting for long periods, make sure to move around and take short breaks in between your job. Shake a leg and stretch frequently; prop up your feet and avoid sitting cross legged. This will ensure proper blood circulation and minimize swelling.
Stay away from the sun. If youâ€™re planning to go outdoors, try and avoid sun. Find a shady spot to relax. Heat aggravates edema, so itâ€™s best to take shelter in a cool, dry environment.
Cold Compress And Massage
Apply a cold compress in the swollen areas for about 10-15 minutes. This will help to reduce swelling and pain.Alternatively, a gentle oil massage therapy can be soothing and effective in reducing swelling considerably.
Try Water Therapy
Stand in a pool of cool water or better still, perform some minimal exercises when in water. The combined effect of increased heart rate and cool water, can help relieve pain and bring down swelling.
Tips & Tricks
If you water bag breaks, stay calm and call your gynaec. Wear a sanitary pad to protect your clothes and on the way to the hospital, use a plastic sheet to prevent the car seat from getting soiled.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Dry fruits are a rich source of iron and contain high dietary fibre. They also meet your nutritional needs during pregnancy