Remedies For Swollen Feet & Hands (Oedema) During Pregnancy

By Subodini Menon

The miracle of pregnancy comes with its own set of not-so-miraculous problems. While the fact that a new life is growing within you makes you feel ecstatic and euphoric, the troubles that come with it can weigh you down.

The morning sickness, mood swings and hormonal changes can be very hard to deal with. Another major cause of concern for you during pregnancy can be swollen feet and hands.

Oedema, or swelling of the body or specifically the limbs, is a very common issue that arises with pregnancy. It is seen that the pregnant women tend to complain about having become very clumsy.

They feel that their hands and feet have grown in size. The shoes that were once cozy and comfortable start to feel tight and pinchy. Women tend to stumble, fumble or even fall over due to the occurrence of swollen feet and hands.

The growing tummy by itself may throw your sense of balance haywire but coupled with swollen feet and hands during pregnancy, the day-to-day life can become tough for a pregnant woman.

Today, let us learn more about the swelling of hands and feet. We shall take a look at the possible reasons behind this. This article will also discuss on the things that you can do to prevent and cope with the oedema of the limbs during pregnancy. Read on to know more.

swollen feet and hands during pregnancy

What causes the swelling of the limbs during pregnancy?

Water Retention

Oedema is caused when the cells of your body tend to retain more water than usual. During pregnancy, the body is in need for a huge amount of water. The cells try to retain water and help the pregnancy progress smoothly. But sometimes, this retention of water can cause the limbs of the woman to swell unnaturally.

The Pressure From The Growing Womb

As the baby grows in your womb, it expands to accommodate the baby. This expansion of the uterus can put pressure on the vena cava and other veins that are responsible to bring the blood from the lower part of the body to your heart. The pressure causes delay in the return of blood and causes the blood and fluid to pool up in the lower limbs.

Gravity

Gravity makes it difficult for the already stressed heart to effectively pump blood throughout the body. Due to the gravitational pull, the blood and fluid tend to pool around in the limbs and the lower part of the body.

Multiple Births

While a pregnant woman who is carrying a single baby can escape the issue of swollen limbs during pregnancy, it might be just impossible to do so for a woman who is pregnant with multiple babies. When pregnant with twins or more children, more amniotic fluid is required. This demand causes the body to retain a lot of water, which in turn causes oedema.

The Weather

Believe it or not, the weather can play a huge role in determining the occurrence of oedema during pregnancy. It is seen that warm weather is most likely to cause swelling of the hands and feet than cooler climates.

The Time Of The Day

In most women, the swelling seems to go away as they rest or sleep at nights. Then, as they go about the day, slowly the swelling worsens. It peaks at around late afternoon and evening.

Lack Of Rest

It is seen in many women that a lack of proper rest leads to the formation of swelling in the limbs of pregnant women. In women who need to stand around for their work or lifestyle, oedema is more prominently seen when compared to women who take the appropriate amount of rest.

Should you be concerned about the swelling of hands and feet during the pregnancy?

It is normal to have some amount of swelling in your limbs. As the pregnancy progresses, most women develop oedema of their limbs. Towards the third trimester, a moderate amount of oedema in the feet and a little swelling in the hands is considered to be normal.

But any more than that can be a sign of deeper problems. It can even be a symptom of preeclampsia. Watch out for the following signs and pay a visit to the doctor immediately if you see any of these.

  • Swelling of the face
  • Puffy eyes
  • Excessive swelling of your hands
  • Excessive swelling of your feet
  • Sudden swelling of your feet or hands

If one of your feet or hands seems to be more swollen than the other, it can be a sign of a blood clot. If you have pain in the swollen limb, please go to the doctor as soon as possible.

How to prevent or cope with the swelling of feet and hands during pregnancy?

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Try Not To Stand Or Sit With Your Feet Down

Oedema of the limbs can happen when you stand or sit with your legs down. Try not to walk or stand for a long time. sit down and take regular breaks to do so. Try to prop your legs up on a chair or a tool when you sit.

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Place Your Legs Up

When you sit down or are lounging, try to place your legs up. This will make it easier for your circulatory system to move the fluid in your body. Also, gravity won't make the fluid pool in your limbs.

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Move, Walk Or Swim

While rest is important, too much of rest can cause oedema too. Go for short walks or better yet, go for a swim if approved by your doctor. Swimming causes the tissues to push the water back into your circulatory system, which eventually helps in excreting the excess water in the form of urine.

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Avoid Wearing Tight Socks Or Stockings

When you wear tight socks and stockings, you disrupt the normal functioning of the circulatory system. This in turn can cause swelling of the feet.

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Wear Comfortable Foot Wear

With pregnancy, you will need to stop wearing uncomfortable and ill-fitting shoes that have heels or are unsupportive. Choose shoes that are comfortable and give you adequate support. Orthodontic shoes and soles will help too.

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Try Supportive Pantyhose

These pieces of clothing can help reduce or prevent oedema without restricting the normal blood flow. Wear a comfortable pantyhose early in the day before the swelling starts to set in.

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Drink Water

Drinking lots of water will help flush out the excess water in the body. It does this by removing excess sodium in the body, which is the substance that helps in retaining water in the body.

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Limit The Use Of Salt In Your Food

The sodium in food helps the body to retain water. Reducing the amount of sodium you eat will make sure that excess water is not retained in the body.

When will the swelling of hands and feet during pregnancy reduce completely?

Most women stop experiencing the oedema of the limbs soon after the birth of their child. It is usually after the first 24 hours that the swelling finally subsides. Some women may take a little longer. Most of the time ranges are normal. Talk to your doctor if you think that the swelling you suffer from is not normal.

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    Read more about: feet edema remedies
    Story first published: Thursday, November 16, 2017, 13:15 [IST]
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