Why Do Some Women Swell Up During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is the time when a woman’s body undergoes major changes because of physical and hormonal changes which of the growing baby. Even though some changes are predictable there are some which are unprecedented. During this time the amount of bodily fluid increases massively by nearly 50%. The excess fluid helps in making the body soft so that it can expand easily for the baby. It improves the pelvic region and prepares the tissues for the delivery process. The additional fluid accounts for nearly 25% of the woman’s body weight during this time.

What is edema?

The normal swelling that takes place in the body during this time is called edema. The swelling usually takes place during the fifth month and can continue till the delivery. During this time the pressure on the pelvic veins is the most. But when the blood from these areas is returning the pressure slows down and in many women it pools forcing the fluid to get into the tissues of the feet and ankle from the veins. This condition can be observed most in women carrying multiple children or with excessive amniotic fluid.

A little bit of swelling can also result from the heat, standing for long durations, excess activity, low potassium diet, excessive caffeine consumption or even high intake of sodium. If the hands and face swell up suddenly then it can also be the first signs of preeclampsia.

How to treat swelling?

It should be understood that a bit of swelling is expected and there is nothing alarming about it. But if the swelling is sudden or excessive then you should contact a medical practitioner immediately because he or she will know about pregnancy and medications. For reducing swelling you can try eating food that is high on potassium like banana. Putting a stop on caffeine consumption is extremely important at this stage. You can try to take the following measures to contain swelling during pregnancy.

  • Keep both feet elevated during resting
  • Stay less outdoors
  • Do not stand for a long time
  • Forget high heels and wear more flat and comfortable shoes
  • Wear supportive stockings or tights
  • Do not wear clothes that are tight around the ankles and wrists
  • Apply cold compress on the swollen areas
  • Drink plenty of water so that all toxins can be flushed out of the system
  • Consume less salt
  • Don’t cross your legs while sitting
  • Go for short walks
  • Exercise regularly. You can also go for swimming or walking. Water aerobics is a good option.
  • Funnily, the swelling and excessive fluids disappear right after the delivery. Women tend to urinate often after the baby is born.

When does it get serious?

Edema or slight swelling in the feet and ankles is normal but if you start to see the signs of preeclampsia then contact a doctor immediately. You will be advised about safe medications while pregnant.

  • Puffy eyes
  • Facial swelling
  • Excessive swelling of the hands, ankles and feet
  • Both legs are not swollen equally