“Why do I have swollen feet and hands?” is a common question that many pregnant women ask. The medical condition is termed as edema and is also popularly known as water retention and it is basically a condition when your body retains too much fluid. It is this extra fluid that causes your feet and handles to swell up. Edema is quite common in pregnant woman and it is more common during their last trimester.
With each passing day, the baby inside the womb grows and as it grows it puts pressure on the vena cava which is a large vein present on the right side of the body and receives blood from the lower parts of the body and transports it to the heart and all the pelvic veins. This affects blood circulation and slows down the entire process. This induces collection of blood in the lower parts of the body or the lower limbs.
This naturally creates a pressure and forces water down into the tissues of the lower body that is the ankles and the feet. This is actually the fluid that should be present elsewhere in the body. Pregnant women might retain more excess water sometimes and this is what leads to swelling.
Certain level of swelling in your hands and feet is normal during pregnancy and there is nothing that you should be worrying about. But if that becomes severe and you experience swelling in your face as well, refer to a doctor immediately. This could be a symptom of pre-eclampsia and that is serious medical condition for both the baby and the mother and needs medical attention.
How to reduce the swelling?
There are many things that you can do to reduce the swelling in your hands and feet and they are:
- Rest your feet on a raised platform like a box or a stool whenever possible when you are at work or you are sitting at your home. Also raise up your ankles and feet whenever possible. Also do not sit at one place for a long time and stand up and walk around.
- Lie by putting pressure on your left side when you lying down at your home as that would take the pressure off the vena cava.
- While travelling for a long time in a car, take breaks to stretch your feet so the blood circulation in the body is restored.
- Wear seamless socks and waist-high tights as you leave your bed in the morning as that would prevent the blood not to pool around the ankles.
- Stay hydrated and drink a lot of water as that would help your body to retain less water.
- Prenatal yoga, walking, swimming and regular exercise can prevent this medical condition to a great extent.
- A well balanced diet is a must. Avoid spicy and salted food.
All these would help you to a great extent but edema is a temporary condition and would go away after you give birth.