Pregnancy may be a joyous time for a woman, but it can also be quite uncomfortable. The extra weight that a woman carries around can lead to morning sickness, and other symptoms like edema can make it difficult to get through the day. Edema is a common issue for pregnant women, but there are ways to treat it effectively. Though the condition itself isn’t necessarily a problem, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to more serious issues if not taken care of properly.
What is Edema?
If you have never experienced edema before, you may be unsure of what the condition entails. Edema is the medical term for swelling caused by excess fluid in your body’s tissues. This extra fluid can collect in the spaces between your cells. While edema can occur anywhere in your body, you may notice it more in your hands, feet, ankles, and legs.
Edema is common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the veins in your pelvis and legs. This can slow the return of blood from your legs to your heart, and the extra blood pooling in your vessels can cause your feet and ankles to swell.
If you are pregnant and notice edema, don’t panic. It is usually harmless and will resolve on its own after you give birth. However, if you notice sudden or severe swelling, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as preeclampsia.
If you are prone to suffering from edema during pregnancy, prevention should be your focus. Your diet is a big part of treating edema during pregnancy. You should be getting enough protein, as well as paying close attention to your sodium intake. Too little sodium in your diet can cause muscle cramping. However, too much can lead to an increase in all forms of edema, including preeclampsia. It is also important that you are drinking enough water on a daily basis. While drinking water is important, make sure you are not overdoing it. Drinking too much water can actually cause water intoxication, which can lead to serious health problems.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the symptoms of edema and be more comfortable during the later months of your pregnancy. Be aware that hot weather can increase edema and swelling. You should also avoid staying in any one position for long periods of time. If circulation to a specific area is interrupted, swelling will likely be the result. Change positions and move around frequently to reduce swelling. Although treating edema during pregnancy can be challenging, these measures can help.
Many alternative medicine therapies can be effective in treating edema during pregnancy. Acupuncture can help improve circulation and eliminate some of the underlying causes of edema. Massage from a qualified therapist can provide many of the same benefits and help keep the body functioning optimally during pregnancy. In addition, therapies such as herbs, aromatherapy and homeopathy can assist a pregnant woman in reducing edema.
Edema and Preeclampsia
Many pregnant women are under the impression that swelling and water retention is an inherently dangerous condition to them and their unborn child. This, however, isn’t the case at all. In fact, treating edema during pregnancy is quite normal. Edema is a symptom of preeclampsia; however, having edema doesn’t mean that your child is in danger due to the complication. What it does mean is that you will need to be more careful.
Preeclampsia is a condition that can occur during pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Although edema is a common symptom of preeclampsia, it is important to remember that not all women who experience edema will develop preeclampsia. In fact, most women with edema will not develop preeclampsia. However, if you are pregnant and experience edema, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to rule out preeclampsia.