Research has proved that the body of a pregnant woman produces approximately 50% more body fluids and blood so as to ensure that the needs of the developing baby are all met. Swelling during pregnancy is quite normal due to the production of more blood and fluids. Normal swelling during pregnancy is commonly referred to as edema. Edema is experienced in the face, ankles, legs and feet. The extra production of the extra fluids is essential for the body since it; softens the body in such a way that the body is in a position to expand as the baby gradually develops and also helps in preparing the pelvic tissues and joints to flexibly open during delivery.
When exactly to expect the swelling during pregnancy
Swelling during pregnancy can be experienced at any point of the pregnancy depending on an individual. However, in most cases it is noticed during the fifth month and tends to increase towards the third trimester. Some factors that can result to swelling during pregnancy include standing for long durations of time, low potassium levels in the body, high sodium intake, summertime heat, and high levels of caffeine intake. Slight swelling is normal during pregnancy. However, any sudden swelling may need the attention of a doctor.
When to worry about swelling during pregnancy
Slight swelling is quite normal during pregnancy, but when it is accompanied by other symptoms it can spell danger. There are some symptoms you may need to look out for since they may be signs of serious underlying problems. These symptoms include:
One leg swelling more than the other and accompanied by intense pain, this can be a sign of a blood clot.
A headache that won’t disappear accompanied by vision changes like sensitivity to light or blurriness can be clear signs of Preeclampsia (pregnancy-particular high blood pressure).
Swelling that is accompanied by breathing difficulty or chest pains could be a clear indication of heart complications.
If you happen to experience swelling during pregnancy accompanied by these red flags, you may need to contact your doctor immediately.
How to effectively treat swelling during pregnancy
Swelling during pregnancy can be effectively reduced by consuming foods that have height potassium levels such as bananas and by doing away with caffeine. Outlined are helpful tips on how to manage swelling during pregnancy:
- Avoid standing for long durations.
- Avoid outdoor activities when it is hot.
- Consider resting with your feet elevated.
- Ensure that you invest in comfortable shoes and avoid wearing heels.
- Ensure that you wear supportive stockings or tights.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes especially around your ankles and waist.
- Consider resting or swimming in a pool.
- Consider using cold compresses on any swollen areas.
- Drink as much water as possible 😀 , as water helps in flushing the body as well as reduces water retention.
- Consider reducing sodium (salt) intake and do not add additional salt to cooked meals.
Swelling during pregnancy is a normal experience that should not cause worry unless it is accompanied by other symptoms. Consider elevating your feet and resting whenever you can and watching over what you eat, drink and wear.