Edema During Pregnancy
My ankles and feet are so swollen - is it edema ?
During pregnancy, body fluids increase in order to nurture both you and your baby. As your body tissues accumulate and retain fluids, you may experience edema or swelling (particularly swollen ankles and feet).
Edema is most often an issue during the third trimester, particularly at the end of the day.
It can vary by the hour (fatter feet in the evening) and by the weather (warmer temperatures forecast more swelling).
What can you do to minimize edema during pregnancy?
| ||Avoid standing or sitting for long periods.
| ||Take regular breaks for short walking.
| ||Minimize outdoor activities when it is hot.
| ||Rest with your feet elevated whenever possible, for example, keep a stool or pile of books under your desk at work.
| ||Don't cross your legs or ankles while sitting.
| ||Wear comfortable, flexible shoes to accommodate the swelling.
| ||Avoid high heels if possible.
| ||Wear supportive tights or stockings but avoid those that have tight bands around the ankles or calves.
| ||Swimming in a pool may temporarily help reduce swelling, particularly if the water level is up to your shoulders.
| ||Apply cold compresses to swollen areas.
| ||Drink plenty of water as it helps your body retain less water.
| ||Minimize sodium (salt) and avoid adding additional salt to meals.
| ||Edema may be reduced by eating foods that are high in potassium, such as bananas. Avoid caffeine.|
When should I call my doctor?
A mild edema is normal in the ankles and feet during pregnancy. You may also have some mild swelling in your hands.
Call your doctor if you experience swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands or excessive or sudden swelling of your feet and ankles.
Excessive edema can be a sign of preeclampsia, especially when accompanied by rapid weight gain, a rise in blood pressure, and protein in the urine.
When will Edema disappear?
Remember, edema is a temporary condition that will pass soon after you give birth. The swelling will disappear fairly rapidly as your body gets rid of the excess fluid. You may find yourself urinating frequently and sweating a lot in the first days after childbirth.
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