Pregnancy is a period where the body produces nearly 50% more blood and body fluids to cater to the demands of a growing baby. Hence swelling is quiet a normal occurrence during pregnancy compounded by the burden of the extra blood and fluids.

Generally swelling is seen in the hands, face, legs, ankles, and feet. It is also termed as oedema. The extra fluid retention is required to protect and soften the baby and give enough space for the baby to expand as the baby grows.

The fluids also aid the pelvic joints and tissues to open for labour. The additional fluids account for about 25% of the weight gained during pregnancy. 

When Does Swelling Occur In Pregnancy?

Oedema can occur at any point of time during pregnancy, more obvious around the fifth month and increases gradually around the last trimester. 

Factors That Cause Swelling:

  • Extreme heat / hot summer
  • Standing for long duration
  • Extended day of activity at work or home
  • Increased consumption of caffeine products
  • A diet high in sodium or high salt intake.
  • A diet low in potassium. 

How To Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy 

  • Try not to stand for long periods.
  • Spend less time outdoor when it is hot.
  • Always rest your feet elevated.
  • It is important to wear comfortable fitting sandals, try to avoid high heels.
  • Wear supporting stockings.
  • Never wear clothes that are too tight around your wrists or ankles.
  • Apply cold compresses on swollen areas.
  • Have enough water to stay hydrated and to flush toxins out, that will help to reduce water retention.
  • Do ankle toe movements, for more than 1000 counts in a day. This will help to improve the blood circulation and lessen the swelling.  

Diet:

-Minimize the salt intake, avoid adding extra salt in meals, and limit the intake of salty foods such as papad, pickles, fried food, processed food, and dry fish.

-Add potassium-rich foods in your diet like bananas, greens, sweet potatoes etc., to lessen the swelling.

-Swelling is generally expected in pregnancy, but on the other hand, if you experience sudden swelling of hands and face it could be signs of preeclampsia. You need to contact your health care provider for further treatments.