Swelling during pregnancy is also known as edema which means that there is some excess fluid that gets collected in your tissue. It is normal to experience some level of swelling because your body is retaining water. The changes of the blood chemistry also have a word to say.
Why do you experience swelling when being pregnant?
For sure you know that the growing belly is pressuring the veins of the pelvic region and the vena cava has the job to transport the blood from the lower extremities to the heart.
Because of this pressure it takes more time for the blood to return to the heart and so it pools.
Because of this pooling you experience swelling when being pregnant since it makes the fluids of the veins to get into the tissues of the ankles and feet. Usually women struggle with problems of this kind during the last trimester, especially at night and it could get worse during summer.
In order to make swelling during pregnancy better, you should try lying on your side. This way there will be less pressure on the veins. Since the vena cava can be found on the right side, the best thing you could do is to lie on your left side. After childbirth the symptom will disappear quite fast.
When to get concerned
As it has been mentioned before regarding swelling when being pregnant, it is normal to have some level of edema and it is also possible that your hands will get a bit swollen too.
Nonetheless if your face starts swelling and you see some puffiness around the eyes, you should call your doctor immediately.
Also if the hands, feet and ankle experience swelling during pregnancy more than normal it could mean that you are facing preeclampsia, which is a serious problem. Call your doctor in case one of the legs is more swollen than the other, especially in case you also have some pain in the thigh or calf.
What to do about swelling when being pregnant?
One of the things you could do is to put your feet up. While you are at work you could rest your feet on a pile of books or a stool, and when you get home you should lie on the left side.
Although you may be used to doing so, avoid crossing your ankles or legs while you are sitting.
To avoid swelling during pregnancy, you should stretch the legs as often as you can while sitting. Start with stretching the leg out and then flex the foot to stretch the muscles of the calf as well. Don’t forget to wiggle your toes and to rotate the ankles.
In case you are standing or sitting for too long, to avoid swelling when being pregnant, you should have regular breaks. The best thing to do is to walk a bit to improve your blood circulation. It is also important to be wearing comfortable shoes. Since your feet could get swollen, the shoes should stretch to accommodate.
To help with swelling during pregnancy, make sure that you don’t have stockings or socks with tight bands that could stop the blood circulation in the feet. The support stockings could help you a lot with this problem. If you opt for them make sure to put them one before you get out of bed in the morning.
In case you suffer from swelling when being pregnant you should make sure to drink plenty of water. It is possible that you have thought otherwise, but drinking fluids can truly help with swelling during pregnancy.