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Swelling In Pregnancy

As we approach the warmer months, many pregnant women will experience a degree of swelling related to their pregnancy. A certain amount of swelling can be normal and is the result of increased venous pressure in the lower extremities caused by pressure of the enlarging uterus on the pelvis veins when the woman is sitting or standing, or on the inferior vena cava when the woman is lying down.

Following are some helpful hints to cope with these aggravating physical symptoms:

  • Avoid constrictive clothing.
  • Elevate legs periodically throughout the day while lying on your left side.
  • Wear maternity support stockings while working.
  • Wear a pregnancy support girdle that can be purchased at maternity stores and online. Pharmacies may carry them as well.
  • Avoid drinking or cooking with water that is "softened"...Check to see if you have a "water softener" in your home. If you do, bring in bottled water.
  • Drinking 3 quarts of water a day will actually help draw off the extra water you tend to retain.
  • Increase the amount of time that you rest, and rest on your side when you do.
  • You may need to wear shoes a little larger for a while.
  • Be careful about salt in your food. Avoid high salt foods such as fast foods, frozen foods, canned foods, "junk foods", and soda. Be sure to eat plenty of high protein foods such as meat, eggs, and beans.
  • Call the office if you experience severe headaches that are not relieved with Tylenol, or have severe visual symptoms. Let us know also if you have severe facial swelling. These may be signs of preeclampsia, which can be dangerous to your health.
  • You may take Tylenol for pain.

Some women experience carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy. Symptoms include pain and numbness of the fingers, hands, and lower arms and is cause by swelling around a nerve in the wrist that is being impinged by a circular ligament. Follow the diet and fluid suggestions above to help alleviate the swelling that may be contributing to the symptoms. You may take Tylenol for pain. Some women find that wearing wrist splints at night are helpful as well. This form of carpal tunnel syndrome is reversible, although it may take up to six weeks post-partum to completely resolve. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions.