During pregnancy, one thing that may scare you is signs of swelling. These are mainly seen on your ankles and feet, and sometimes may even be around the face and hands. Swelling is a normal occurrence during your nine months and almost 75% of women experience this.
What Causes Swelling During Pregnancy?
In medical terminology, the swelling of ankles and feet is called Edema (or Oedema). It occurs due to the following reasons.
- Swelling occurs when there is an excess collection of fluid in the tissues. During pregnancy, there is a 50 % increase in the production of blood and other fluids in your body which are necessary to meet the needs of your growing baby.
- Sometimes, your growing uterus causes pressure on your veins and restricts blood circulation towards your heart. This may cause swelling in your legs, ankle and feet.
- At times, swelling can also occur due to hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy
What To Expect?
The swelling you experience during pregnancy is mainly caused by retention of fluid.
- This is necessary as it helps soften your body, enabling expansion for the development of your baby.
- The extra fluids indirectly strengthen your pelvic joints and tissues to allow a better delivery.
- The swelling occurs mostly during the third trimester.
- Sometimes swelling may intensify in accordance with the day’s progression and might get acute by evening.
- Hot weather and fatigue can also worsen the same.
However, the swelling is a temporary condition and will fade away once you deliver your baby.
When Should You Worry About Swelling?
Although it is a normal part of pregnancy, swelling may sometime need immediate medical assistance. Make sure you check for the following symptoms. Immediately consult your doctor as it can be an abnormal condition.
- Puffiness in your face and around your eyes, with more than normal level of swelling in fingers, feet and ankles. This could be a symptom of Preeclampsia and can be quite serious.
- In case one of your legs is more swollen than the other, and is accompanied with pain in your thigh and calf, it might be blood clotting.
- Abnormal swelling in your wrists and hands could be a symptom of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In this case, swelling constricts the nerves which pass towards your arms.
10 Tips To Alleviate The Woes Of Swelling:
Although you might not be able to completely get rid of swelling, you can definitely try to reduce the pains.
1. Don’t Be Stationary For Long:
Avoid standing or sitting for a prolonged time.
- If you have to stand for a longer duration, take breaks in between and sit for a while.
- If you have to remain sitting for an elongated period, get up and stroll in between.
- Avoid sitting with crossed legs.
2. Sleep On Your Left:
When you sleep on your left side, there is less pressure on the vein that carries blood to your heart from the lower part of your body.
- Keep your legs elevated with the help of a support or pillow. It will help in minimizing pain and swelling to quite an extent.
3. Find A Comfortable Pair Of Shoes:
During pregnancy your foot size expands and there are chances your old shoes might not fit well.
- Wear shoes without heels that are airy and comfortable.
- Some doctors suggest athletic shoes and inserts. These are believed to reduce swelling, pain and considerably lessen back pain also.
4. Eat A Balanced Diet:
Opting for a healthy diet and avoiding junk food can also reduce swelling pains.
- Eat high portions of fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce excessive intake of salt, sugar and fats.
- Try to avoid pre-packaged food and processed foods.
- Maximize your intake of vitamin C and Vitamin E
5. Drink Lots Of Water:
Medical experts suggest that 8-10 glasses of fluid intake are a must during pregnancy.
- Fluids help to flush toxins, sodium levels and also other waste products from the body.
- This indirectly minimizes swelling.
6. Avoid Tight Stockings Or Socks:
Avoid clothes that are tight around ankles or wrists.
- This will allow the blood and other fluids to flow freely in the body.
- Wear support hose or full pantyhose which is not tight and also provides enough tummy room
7. Give Some Exercise To Your Body:
Exercising will enable blood circulation in your body.
- Continue your daily dose of walk or other moderate exercise that you do. This needs your doctor’s approval first.
- Practice stretching exercises after speaking to your doctor.
8. Indulge Into Various Therapies:
You can try certain therapies after consulting your doctor.
- Opt for a gentle oil message on your legs.
- Alternatively, soak your swollen feet in cypress, lavender or chamomile oil. It helps in soothing your discomfort.
- Drink herbal teas once your doctor gives you the go ahead.
9. Rest In A Pool:
Sometimes standing in a pool can compress the tissues in the legs and you can experience temporary relief from the swelling.
- Try keeping your swollen legs or ankles cool by applying cold water.
- These are temporary pain relievers and will give you some comfort.
10. Avoid Smoking and Reduce Intake of Caffeine:
Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and too much of caffeine during your pregnancy as these are can elevate swelling and increase pains.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the typical symptoms of pregnancy. Remember this is temporary, and will go away after you deliver your darling. This is a time when you should pamper yourself, so enjoy your pregnancy and stay happy.