You may experience puffy cankles, beginning at your second trimester. Normal swelling, which is called edema also can be found in hands, ankle, legs, hands and feet.
Edema during pregnancy is common and normal which can be called as pregnancy side effects especially near the ends but it disappears after you give birth. Thus, you just need to try some tips to relieve the discomfort. Also, there are some instances of swelling which you need to pay attention to as it may be a sign of serious health conditions.
Your body produces additional blood and fluids to meet your growing fetus needs when you’re pregnant. According to some research, the total amount of body water volume can even increase by up to 8 liters and plasma volume up to 50%!
Extra fluid retention can nurture you and your baby and soften the body to allow the baby to develop in your uterus and prepare for labour. What’s more, extra fluids that accumulate in your growing uterus may put pressure at your pelvic vein and vena cava. As a result, the blood from your lower limbs is prevented from returning to your heart. That’s why you experience the annoying swelling.
Tips to relieve normal swelling are to help the blood circulation back to your heart and balance the fluid and sodium levels in your body. Since sodium controls the amount of fluid in your body, maintaining the sodium intake in moderation is a must. Here are some tips you may take notice:
- Elevate your feet with a pillow and do some exercises to lift up your feet above your heart.
- Avoid standing for long periods.
- Drink plenty of water as you can especially during hot weather.
- Replace your salt with low sodium salt and limit your intake of salty food.
- Avoid heels, just wear a pair of comfortable flats.
- Sleep on your left side to help the blood in the vein return back to the heart.
- Avoid tight socks, try on the compression socks to improve blood circulation.
- Stay active regularly to reduce swelling.
How to detect serious swelling?
Although most swelling is normal and harmless, take note of the swollen face or hands or swelling around your eyes persisting for more than a day. If you have sudden weight gain, high blood pressure, and protein in the urine at the same time, it can be a sign of underlying condition- preeclampsia.
About 5% of pregnant mums may experience preeclampsia after week 20 of pregnancy. Be aware of the symptoms above and talk with your OB-GYN doctor if you are not sure about the symptoms of abnormal swelling. Since you will do a checkup of blood pressure and urine at each prenatal visit, check with your doctor if you have.
High blood pressure during pregnancy is dangerous, especially sudden high blood pressure. It may cause coma in mums, cerebral palsy in babies and other serious conditions. Special attention must be paid. You may be advised to give birth earlier at week 35 or week 36 due to severe high blood pressure and preeclampsia. After delivery, the blood pressure will return to normal.