Edema: Another Pregnancy Dilemma

We're having a baby !!! More often than not, that is the usual tone that people have when they've found out that their having a baby, especially the mothers. But with the joy that comes from welcoming a new life into this earth also comes the harsh realities that a woman must face during pregnancy. Behind the excuse of baby showers and picking names and wondering what the gender of the baby would be, there are the hardships that a woman must go through before she can experience the joys of motherhood. Such hardships include gaining weight, that feeling fat and ugly, having morning sickness, and being irritable, just to name a few.

One of the less popular pains that pregnant women experience is edema. Well, actually no, it is not unpopular. It's just that few people recognize the word. Edema is simply a medical term for the swilling that pregnant women experience usually in their feet, ankles, and legs. A simple explanation would be that as the baby grows inside the womb of a woman, more pressure is exerted in her pelvic veins and the vein that receives blood from her lower extremities, called the vena cava. As a result, circulation is somewhat impeded and blood pools in the leg area. Fluids are then taken into the feet and ankles, and the accumulation of results to edema, or what is more commonly known as swelling. Sometimes, excess water retention that happens during pregnancy contributes even more to the swelling.

Edema usually occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy when the baby is big enough to exert enough pressure to actually slow down circulation. And although edema is not really a threatening disease or a cause to worry, it could bring a lot of discomfort to the already difficult situation that a pregnant woman is in. Thankfully, there are things you can do to somehow relieve the stress thought about by edema. Here are some tips:

As much as possible, keep your feet and legs in an elevated position. You can put it up in a chair, table, or whatever furniture / thing possible.

Always stretch your legs especially during prolonged sitting and while you're at it, also try rotating your ankles and wiggling your toes.

Forget fashion and go for comfort, at least for the meanime. Wear comfortable shoes, big enough for the swing in your feet and ankles.

Drink lots and lots of water!

Even if you're pregnant, still do some light exercise regularly as much as your pregnancy can permit you.

Try to eat a balanced and nutritious diet and avoid sodium and salt, instead focus on the proteins.

As I said, edema is quite normal during pregnancies and it should not cause too much worry. However, you should also make sure that the symptoms you¡¯re experiencing indicate that it is indeed edema and not something more complicated. If swapping occurs in your hands and face in a sudden manner, immediately consult your doctor as this may indicate preeclampsia, a disorder that also occurs during pregnancy but much more serious. Also, if swapping is not the same for both feet, it may be a symptom of a vascular problem and a doctor must be consulted as well.

Once you're sure that it is edema, then there's really no need to worry. Just follow the tips that were written above for the few months that you will be having edema. It should help a lot in improving how you feel during this time, plus you can always look ahead to the time when you would feel that all these pains and discomforts are nothing. That is the time when you get to bring into this world a beautiful being, someone that is special and someone that is your own, and everything you've experienced would just be worth it!

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