When edema appears during pregnancy, the expectant mother is in no hurry to consult a doctor. Swollen ankles and legs are normal during pregnancy, but sometimes they can signal more serious problems. Find out what dangerous swelling and what to do when your legs become swollen during pregnancy.
We will also tell you why your legs become swollen during pregnancy and in what cases it is necessary to consult a doctor.
Why legs swell during pregnancy
"Swelling in the hands, feet and ankles very often bother the pregnant woman, especially during the summer heat. There may also be swelling in the face and neck, especially after the 20th week of pregnancy.", says Andri Gruslin, interim head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Ottawa and the Hospital of Ottawa. "Virtually every woman will experience them to some extent."
Changes in blood chemistry caused by certain fluids in your tissues, and in the third trimester of pregnancy, the weight of the uterus puts a lot of pressure on the pelvic veins and the vena cava (a large vein on the right side of the body that carries blood from your legs and feet back up to the heart) – Together, this can lead to fluid retention below the knees.
When to worry
If the swelling during pregnancy is accompanied by some other symptoms, it may signal more serious problems.
Contact your doctor immediately if you have any of these additional symptoms:
- if one swelling in one leg is more than in the other, it is accompanied by pain (may signal a possible thrombus);
- persistent headache along with changes in vision (blurring or sensitivity to light) may be signs of pre-eclampsia (critically high blood pressure during pregnancy);
- swelling with chest pain or shortness of breath can mean heart problems.
What to do when legs swell during pregnancy
It is a completely different story with what to do when the legs become swollen during pregnancy. It is impossible to get used to the ugliness of the ankles and "brick" feet that no longer fit into your shoes."I do one pair of ballet shoes, but even in them my legs start to feel tense," – recognized Stephanie Plow, located on the eighth month of pregnancy. "I do not know what I will wear for the next few weeks."
Despite persistent swelling, the Plow does the right thing to keep the puffiness under control. "I put my feet on the box under my desk at work, periodically get up and walk around as much as I can, and try to drink plenty of water," she says. "I think it helps a bit."
Massage and swimming are additional ways in which you can alleviate signs of edema. Also, do not cross your legs. But don’t worry about reducing salt intake. "It’s a myth that sodium has something to do with edema," – says Gruslin.
You may also have heard that an increase in potassium intake may help, but Gruslin says that this is another of the ineffective "pregnant" legends
"I also do not recommend compression socks; they are too difficult to put on and take off, and it can be uncomfortable ".
When swelling disappears during pregnancy
When will the swelling finally subside? “In about 24 hours after giving birth, most women notice a big difference," – says Gruslin. "At the same time, remember that what you are experiencing is normal, and try not to worry about it too much. Whenever possible, try to raise your legs up.".
Now you know what to do when your legs become swollen during pregnancy. We hope our advice will help reduce the swelling and discomfort that it delivers.