Swelling or edema is one of the most common symptoms (and complaints) during pregnancy. The female body stores extra fluid to ensure that both you and your baby stay healthy. Unfortunately, some of that fluid will gather on the surface and cause mild swelling also known as edema, especially in the feet and ankles.
Causes of Edema
Swelling in the feet and ankles can be attributed to an accumulation of extra fluid which is naturally pulled toward the earth by the same force that allows humans to walk without flying into space. The extra fluid is there, however, for a food reason as both you and your baby need extra fluid to maintain good health.
Important Facts About Edema
While mild swelling is reported in 75% of pregnancy cases, severe swelling can mean something different. Excessive storage of fluid in the body during pregnancy could be a sign of preeclampsia and should be reported to the attending obstetrician immediately. Edema is measured by pressing a finger into the swollen area of the body. The amount of time it takes the indentation to fill in measures the severity of edema. If it takes longer than a few seconds to fill in, call the doctor just in case.
Treatment for Edema
Most often, standing or walking for too long will make edema worse. For every hour spent on the feet, 15 minutes of rest with the legs propped up above the heart will help to lessen the effect of swelling on the lower body. Drinking more water and decreasing salt intake can also help. Support pantyhose that do not restrict circulation can also help keep water from collecting.
Easing Swollen Ankles During Pregnancy