Swelling of the legs during pregnancy - causes and treatment
Pregnancy can affect different women in different ways. Some pregnant women have all possible unpleasant symptoms, while others go through the period without any major problems. One of the ailments that can bother you is swelling of the legs during pregnancy.
In some women, the problem also affects the hands or even the whole body. It is a completely natural phenomenon caused by an additional effort, which for a woman's body is the development of the foetus. Therefore, it is worth knowing what to do to reduce swelling in pregnancy and how to avoid it before it occurs.
Contrary to appearances, it is not particularly difficult and with a little attention - completely feasible. Small changes in your daily life, such as drinking more water, can bring great relief and significantly reduce swelling.
Where does swelling in pregnancy come from?
There is certainly no reason to panic if you are unable to recognise your ankles and calves in the evening. Swelling in pregnancy is completely normal, especially if it occurs at the end of the second and third trimester. The symptoms are worse in the evening, after being on your feet all day.
It may seem that an active day is nothing, and indeed in a normal state, it is. However, if you are pregnant, carrying extra weight and your body is working for two, a day spent on your feet can be a huge challenge. Usually, such swelling is most visible in the evening and disappears in the morning, only to accumulate again throughout the day.
Several phenomena are responsible for swelling during pregnancy. The body produces more blood - even by about 2.5 litres. This means that the body has to accommodate it somewhere. Nature works in this way to protect the woman during childbirth - in case she should lose a lot of blood. In a nutshell, the fluids accumulated in the body could quickly reduce the loss.
Swelling in pregnancy - how to reduce it
The fact that swelling of legs during pregnancy is natural does not mean that we have to accept this state of affairs and suffer in silence. It is enough to introduce a few simple solutions into everyday life.
For example, rest as often as possible, preferably with your legs slightly elevated. It is also better to avoid spending time in the sun and doing heavy work. If your day promises to be active, it is a good idea to plan at least a few short breaks to sit down and let your legs rest.
Of course, swelling in pregnancy, as in any other case, can be caused by a lack of hydration, so remember to drink plenty of water and limit salt in your diet, which promotes the accumulation of water in the body.
If the situation requires spending a long time in a sitting position, it will be good to get up occasionally and move around. Swollen feet can also cause abrasions, so look for shoes made of natural materials, breathable, and with flat heels. You can also apply cool compresses to your legs.
Although every pregnant woman takes care to eat properly, it is important to remember that you eat for two. Extra pounds can only exacerbate the problem of swelling.
When it is time to sleep, it is worth trying to adopt a position on the left side, which is beneficial for the body in physiological terms - it facilitates the functioning of internal organs and free circulation of body fluids.
It is also a good idea to wear special compression tights or stockings. It may seem like a crazy idea in the summer when the weather is hot, but in fact, such a solution helps reduce ailments connected with swelling.
Gradual compression across the legs will allow venous blood to flow back towards the heart and lymph to flow to the lymph nodes, preventing these fluids from accumulating in the lower limbs. It is also worth including onions, tomatoes, cherries or blueberries, and oranges in your diet. They are a source of rutin, which has a beneficial effect on blood vessels, strengthening them.
- Compression stockings
Feliks Bolechowski: Fundamentals of general clinical diagnostics. Warsaw: PZWL, 1982, p. 183-193.