"Ask me for strength and I will lend not only my hand, but also my heart."
~ Unknown

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Edema: Swelling of the Extremities During Pregnancy

Cankles... One of those "lovely" words mamas use to describe swelling in their legs (or other extremities) that may occur during pregnancy, most noticeably in the third trimester.  What is the reason for the swelling and what can you do to find some relief? 

Swelling (Edema) may be due to:
  • Pressure of the growing uterus on the rectum
  • Extra blood flow during pregnancy
  • Growing uterus puts pressure on pelvic veins, slowing down circulation
  • Excessive water retention
Some comfort measures:
  • Stay cool
  • Apply cool compresses to affected areas
  • Elevate feet
  • Wear support stockings
  • Exercise
  • Eat properly, avoid sodium and salty foods

**Keep in mind that severe swelling can also be a symptom of preeclampsia, a life-threatening condition.**

When to seek medical attention:
  • Severe or persistent headache or any visual disturbance (such as double vision or seeing spots)
  • Severe pain in the middle of your belly or on the right side of your belly under your ribs
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Excessive swelling or weight gain, swelling of the face

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