Swelling of the legs during pregnancy is experienced by most women, especially in the later periods by the end of the third trimester. In most cases, leg edema is normal and there is no cause for concern. In other cases, when the swelling is associated with any disease, be sure not to postpone you need to consult with your doctor.
Why legs swell during pregnancy
Edema during pregnancy affects almost all pregnant women, starting around 22 or 27 weeks. More severe swelling of the legs, as well as hands and face, may appear by the 35th week of pregnancy.
Swelling of the legs can vary depending on the time of day and time of year. As a rule, more severe swelling occurs in the evening and in the summer. Edema also depends on weather conditions: on hotter days, it is more, on cooler days, less pronounced.
In most women, the swelling goes away after giving birth in the first two weeks.
Many pregnant women ask themselves: “Why do the legs become swollen during pregnancy?”. There is nothing criminal in this. Swelling occurs due to an increase in the amount of fluid. About 25 percent of the weight gained during pregnancy is the result of fluid retention. It certainly causes anxiety and discomfort in women, but it is necessary. This accumulated fluid plays an important role during childbirth.
First, the fluid softens the body, allowing it to expand as the child grows.
Secondly, it helps prepare pelvic bones and tissues for childbirth.
Usually, only the legs swell: the legs and feet. In some cases, the face and hands may swell. Normal puffiness during pregnancy should be “recruited” slowly, rather than abruptly. Sudden swelling, especially on the face and hands, can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a dangerous disease, when blood pressure rises sharply and the blood supply is disturbed. Typically, this condition may occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In addition, the growing uterus puts pressure on the pelvic veins, causing stagnation of blood in the large vein on the right side of the body, which carries blood from the lower limbs back to the heart. The pressure of the growing uterus slows down this process, resulting in swelling in the legs and feet. The appearance of such edema of the legs most often occurs in late pregnancy in the third trimester.
Other causes of edema of the legs, ankles, feet may be a lack of potassium, the use of salty foods, canned and smoked products, a large consumption of caffeine.
As mentioned above, high temperature and humidity can also cause leg edema.
What are dangerous swelling of the legs during pregnancy?
Swelling of the legs during pregnancy are not dangerous and this is normal in most cases, especially in late pregnancy.
However, if the legs, arms, face become puffy, swelling does not subside at night, you should immediately consult a doctor.
Severe edema, as mentioned above, can be a symptom of pre-eclampsia. Preeclampsia has an effect on the kidney function, as well as on the central nervous system. Symptoms of preeclampsia are a sharp increase in pressure, swelling of the legs, hands, face, excessive weight gain (more than 450-500 grams per week), the presence of protein in the urine.
More severe cases of preeclampsia can cause blurred vision, headaches, irritability, and abdominal pain.
Edema in just one leg or pain in any part of the leg may be a sign of a blood clot.
The presence of red streaks and spots on the legs can be a sign of infection.
Swollen red legs can be a sign of poor circulation or diabetes.
Other symptoms may indicate heart failure or kidney failure. In any case, with the appearance of sudden strong edema, you should immediately consult a doctor.
How to remove leg swelling during pregnancy
Remove completely swelling during pregnancy does not work. As you already understood, this is normal for every pregnant woman. Of course, if the swelling is not associated with more serious diseases.
Relieve the condition caused by swelling of the legs, you can. Here are some tips to help improve swelling and relieve discomfort caused by swelling.
If you have to spend a lot of time standing or sitting, take five-minute breaks every hour to rest. When sitting, walk on foot. With standing work, sit down and it is advisable to put your feet on a certain elevation to improve blood circulation.
Raise your legs whenever possible. At work, you can put a special stool under your feet or put a stack of books.
If possible, stretch your legs: first stretch the heel and gently bend the foot to stretch the lower leg.
Make circular movements with your feet and squeeze your toes.
When sitting, do not cross your legs and do not lay one on top of another. These provisions impair blood circulation in the legs.
Try to sleep on the left side. This situation improves kidney function and swelling subsides by morning.
Wear comfortable shoes without a high heel, preferably with expanding inserts, so that it can stretch when swelling increases by the end of the day.
Do not wear knee socks or socks with a narrow elastic band.
You can wear special tights, stockings or socks with a supporting effect, which support the muscles of the legs.
Drink plenty of water. It may seem strange, but it helps the body to retain less fluid.
If possible, walk, go swimming. For pregnant women there are special aqua aerobics exercises. If there are such courses in your area, sign up for them. Such exercises in water help reduce the discomfort caused by edema.
Avoid salted, canned, smoked products.
Avoid stuffy, wet rooms.
Do not wear tight clothing, especially tight hips.
Do cool compresses for tired, swollen feet.
With strong edema, which are not accompanied by any disease, after consulting with your gynecologist, you can drink tea with diuretic herbs, do a light massage of the legs and feet, bath with essential oils or salt.