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Edema

Prenatal Care Midwife in Plano, TX | Baby Catcher, PLLC

Symptoms:

Heaviness in the legs, discomfort or pain limiting mobility.  Tight or snug rings and difficulty fitting into regular shoes.   Swelling is mostly in the legs.  Swelling of the hands is common in the morning.  Generalized body edema  presents mostly as facial edema.

Why it happens: 

Total body fluids increase by 6 to 8 in pregnancy most of which is extracellular.   Several liters of this fluid are found in the interstitial space or space surrounding the body cells.   When excessive fluid accumulates interstitial space edema develops.  This is a normal physiological development in pregnancy.  It is most noticeable in the legs m later pregnancy when the weight of the growing uterus interferes with venous return from the lower extremities. 
 

Relief Measures: 

Goal is to decrease edema and watch out for other concerning  symptoms.   

  1. Chest deep water immersion for at least 20 minutes produces a natural pressure gradient and effectively reduces edema in over 80% of women.  

  2. Exercise such as brisk walking or swimming improves venous return from legs and reduces edema. 

  3. Apply compression stockings with legs elevated when first arising in the morning before dependent edema worsens.   

  4. Avoid constrictive clothing such as knee high socks.    

  5. Elevate the legs higher than heart level periodically throughout the day with a minimum goal of at least for 1 hour twice daily.  

  6. Lay in the left lateral position to maximize venous return 

  7. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.   

  8. Try Herbal support for fluid balance, two to 3 cups of tea per day 

    1. Parsley

    2. Dandelion leaf

  9. Avoid heavily salted foods.     

  10.  Let your midwife know if you experience rapid onset edema accompanied by sudden weight gain, changes in vision [blurry or seeing spots or flashes before your eyes], headaches, have right upper abdominal pain and/or notice elevated blood pressure readings at home as these signs warrant further evaluation.   

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