What happens when you experience pregnancy swelling?
Are your rings or your shoes feeling tighter? It’s not your imagination but swelling, a common occurrence during pregnancy. Swelling can occur in your hands, feet and ankles, and sometimes even your face. This puffiness is often more noticeable around month 5 of your pregnancy and can increase in the third trimester.
Why does swelling occur?
Pregnancy swelling is caused by fluid retention in your body and a rise in your oestrogen hormone levels. Your growing uterus also puts more pressure on the blood vessels in your legs, slowing down blood circulation to the area and causing fluid retention and swelling in your lower body.
Swelling does not affect your baby and usually disappears after you give birth. However, if you experience sudden and excessive swelling, call your doctor immediately as it can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, which can lead to pregnancy complications.
What can you do to control pregnancy swelling?
Potassium-rich food such as bananas and oranges, as well as natural diuretics like asparagus (shatavari), onions and pumpkin can help decrease swelling.
Drink more water as it flushes the excess fluids out of your system.
Gentle exercises such as swimming can do wonders to improve your circulation, but talk to your doctor to find out which prenatal exercises are safe.
Rest as much as possible and prop your feet up on a stool when you are seated, preferably higher than your hips.
- Swelling During Pregnancy – Mayo Clinic
- Swelling During Pregnancy – American Pregnancy Association
- Reduce or Prevent Swelling
- Mead Johnson Nutrition Canada: Third Trimester Changes
- The Office on Women's Health,the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- WebMD: Pregnancy guide
- 8. WebMD: Are You Getting Enough Potassium?
- University of Maryland Medical Centre: Edema
- Better Health Channel, State Government of Victoria (Australia).
- Baby Center: Great pregnancy exercise:Swimming
- Krishnaswamy K, Sesikeran B. Dietary Guidelines for Indians –A Manual. National Institute of Nutrition;2011.