During pregnancy, each day is a struggle. You never know what new health issues might arise each day. Along with continuously increasing the size of your belly, you might have swelling throughout your body and thanks to the law of gravity which causes swollen feet and hand too. This health condition is called edema during pregnancy. It is one of the most uncomfortable and unsightly side-effects of pregnancy. So, what is the deal with hand and feet swelling during pregnancy and how to handle it? Here is the necessary information.
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What Is Edema In Pregnancy?
A little life is growing inside you. So, your body is working day and night to provide the supportive environment. One of such arrangements is increasing the blood and body fluids. During pregnancy, the body of mom-to-be increases the production of blood by approximately 50%. This overproduction of blood and fluids causes the swelling during pregnancy. Hands, face, legs and ankle swelling during pregnancy are the effects of edema.
The extra retention of fluid is necessary for the reason that it softens the body and facilitates the body for expansion as the baby grows. It also helps in the preparation of pelvic joints and tissues to open during labour and delivery.
What Does It Mean To Have Swollen Feet During Pregnancy?
Swollen feet during pregnancy or edema during pregnancy is due to the excess fluids produced by the body and retained in the hands and feet. Along with swollen hands and feet, it causes ankle swelling too. Edema is not particularly a health condition associated with pregnancy, it could happen to anyone, anytime but swollen hands and feet are commonly seen in pregnancy.
When Does Swelling Start During Pregnancy?
Hands and feet swelling during pregnancy might be experienced at any point of time during pregnancy period. But most probably, it could be noticed around the month of fifth and is likely to stick around till the delivery of the baby.
The other factors such as the following might contribute as well to the swollen hands and feet.
‣ Variation in weather temperature.
‣ Standing for a longer time
‣ Tedious activity
‣ Low potassium diet
‣ High level of caffeine consumption
‣ High level of sodium intake
Although swelling during pregnancy is normal and expected, sudden hand and feet swelling during pregnancy is unhealthy. It could be a sign of preeclampsia. In such cases, it is best to consult your doctor to get the suggestion and medication.
What Causes Edema During Pregnancy?
Most of the women experience edema during pregnancy. But what are its causes? Here it is. As already mentioned, the main cause of hand and feet swelling during pregnancy is the increase in the blood and body fluids. The blood volume and body fluids are increased by 50% at least. This is necessary to nurture the growth and development of your baby. And the storage point of this excess liquid in your hand and feet, hence the swollen hands and swollen legs during pregnancy.
Why does the liquid accumulate in the tissues of the body parts (mostly hands and feet)? it is because of the increased blood flow, the pressure of the growing uterus and the pressure on vena cava (the vein that takes the blood back to the heart from the limbs). This also results particularly in swollen feet and swollen ankles during pregnancy but it is not limited to it. It could also cause swollen hands and feet, swollen calves and swollen face.
The swelling during pregnancy could also be influenced based on the speed of your weight gain. The faster it is, the sooner you will be posed with swollen hands and feet issue.
How does edema during pregnancy is affected by the weather variation? During the hot weather, your kidneys are interested in maintaining the fluid level in your body. It can’t afford to let you undergo dehydration because of the little life inside you. So, as soon as you show the first sign of dehydration, kidneys react to it and instructs your body to store the excess fluid. Hence, the swollen hands and feet.
The stress caused by the heavy uterus could make blood circulation from the lower extremities to your heart a tedious task and it might be less efficient. This causes the pooling of fluids in the lower extremities of your body. And as a result, you could face the issue of swelling in pregnancy.
Risks Associated With Swollen Hands And Feet During Pregnancy?
Edema in pregnancy is not all well and good. It comes with its own share of day-to-day life problems. But it is perfectly okay and causes absolutely no harm if it is mild and keeps varying with the time of the day and weather. However, in case, you could see swollen hands and swollen feet during pregnancy and/or accompanied with a swollen face and it persists for more than a day at a time, you should consult your doctor. Although normal swelling during pregnancy cause no harm, excessive and continuous swelling could be a sign of preeclampsia. It is accompanied by various other signs and symptoms such as sudden hands and feet swelling in pregnancy, excessive puffiness in face, Ashen appearance, skin pitting, high blood pressure, bad headaches, upper abdominal pain, changes in vision, nausea, vomiting, decreased urine output.
How To Stop Swelling In Pregnancy?
‣ Avoid Long Period Of Sitting Or Standing Session: Changing the positions from sitting to standing and vice versa is one of the effective preventive measures you could implement to keep away in pregnancy. It improves the blood circulation and helps in stopping the swollen hands and swollen feet issue to pop up.
‣ Kick Up Your Feet: Law of gravity could cause edema. So, why can’t you use the same to your advantage? Your swollen feet and ankle swelling will be relieved by putting your feet up often.
‣ Side Sleeping: Sleep sidewise (preferably on your left). This is good for your growing baby and kidney which is working really hard.
‣ Drink More Water: It sounds controversial but drinking more water could actually help in getting rid of excess fluid from your body. If your body is well-hydrated, your body will not have any necessity to store the excess fluid.
‣ Exercise: The pregnancy-appropriate exercises (such as walking, swimming) could contribute to relieving the swollen hand and swollen feet during pregnancy. Exercise optimizes the blood circulation and pushes back the fluids that are stored in the tissue of body extremity parts.
‣ Less Caffeine Consumption: Caffeine is diuretic in nature. It means Caffeine has the ability to increase the urine output. This could cause dehydration and make the kidney hang onto excess fluids. This, in turn, could cause hand and leg swelling during pregnancy. To save yourself from edema in pregnancy, it is advised to limit the caffeine consumption and drink plenty of water when you consume caffeine products.
‣ Moderate Salt Intake: Limiting too much of salt intake is not good for health. But keeping it in moderation is always best.
‣ Comfy Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes during pregnancy which reduces the leg and back pain during pregnancy. It could also prevent swollen hands and swollen legs during pregnancy.
‣ Avoid Stockings: Tight dresses and stockings could restrict blood flow and increase the swelling in pregnancy. Hence wear loose dresses which lets the blood and fluids flow freely.
[Read more: How To Deal With Swollen Feet During Pregnancy]
Although swollen hands and swollen feet are nothing to be concerned of, it is better to keep an eye on it. If you find anything abnormal about the swelling in pregnancy, it is best to consult your doctor. As it is said, be safe than sorry.