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Why Edema

The swelling is most noticeable during the second half of the pregnancy; most pregnant women get it to some degree. The pain can vary from being mild to something more unpleasant; night cramps is another sore complaint you may have to put up with if you have swellings. Not hazardous but definitely uncomfortable, some pointers on edema:

  • The role of hormone in this discomfort is that of kidney's having the tendency to hold on to salt and therefore retaining water.
  • Body parts most likely to swell are your feet, hands and ankles; it is caused by water collecting in the tissues.
  • The growing uterus weighs heavily on your pelvic veins and inferior vena cava; this slows down circulation and instead causes blood to well up in your legs.
  • Sometimes the swelling can spread to your face, as the effects of oestrogen and cortisol change the fat distribution in the body.
  • If the puffiness becomes excessive or sustains for more than 24 hours then your doctor should be informed - it could be a sign of something more serious, preeclampsia.
  • On its own it should not cause any alarm as it poses no danger to mother or baby.
  • Mild edema can be caused by hot weather
  • Sitting for longer periods is another reason
  • High blood pressure can trigger swelling
  • You will notice more swellings in the evenings, in the summer months and as you grow heavier
  • If you are carrying multiples or have gained excess weight or lead a very sedentary lifestyle, then you are likely to get swellings

Things you can do..

  • Drink lots of water to help flush excess fluid, toxins from your system; drinking more will reduce retention
  • Stay active - move about and do some light exercises like walking to keep your blood pumping
  • Don't add salt to your foods and check the salt content of everything you eat
  • Sit down with your legs raised up or better still lie down on your left side when you feel like resting
  • Try wearing support tights that are waist high; this keeps your circulation in check
  • Avoid socks or stockings that constrict at the ankles or calves
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetable and avoid junk foods especially salty snacks, processed foods and anything that is high in sodium
  • Since fingers can swell, remove rings before they get too tight
  • Use cold water compress on swollen areas or soak your feet in cool water
  • When sitting stretch your calves often, rotate your ankles and wriggle your toes
  • Don't cross your legs when sitting as this cuts of circulation

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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