The expectant mother’s body goes through many changes while waiting for the baby to be born. Which of them should alert you? The fact that pregnancy is often accompanied by swelling is know to almost all pregnant women. Also, we all know that swelling without pregnancy is a symptom of a disease, often of cardiovascular or the renal origin. But what that means if they appear in pregnant women? Is this normal or a pathology that requires treatment?
Diagnosis of swellings in pregnant women
How do you know if you have swelling? First answer several questions.
- Have your favorite worn-shoes become awfully tight recently?
- Does the wedding ring compress your finger, leaving a trail? Do you have difficulty removing it or is it stuck on your finger?
- You began putting on too much weight (more than 300 g per week)?
Of course, obvious swellings are visible not only to a doctor, but to you as well. But there might also be hidden swellings or tissue sponginess (so-called fluid retention in the body), which are not evident. You can suspect them only if the future mom has a great or uneven weight gain.
Usually feet are the first to swell, then hands, abdomen and facial swelling. The latter is particularly upsetting for the expectant mothers. After all, eyelids swell most of all. This is due to the anatomical features of the area. There is loose tissue, which is ready to soak up liquid like a sponge.
Leg swelling is less visible in the morning, because the liquid is evenly distributed throughout the body at night. But during the day, when you spend more time on your feet, the liquid goes down, accumulating mainly in the ankles, soles of your feet, on the legs, where a finger pressure can cause a slowly evening dimple. The skin in the swollen area is pale, taught and smooth.
Which techniques are used for the diagnosis in addition to the medical examination?
Weighing in dynamics
The amount of the fluid you drink is compared to the urine production (per day). Normally, a healthy person discharges ¾ of the liquid he or she drinks. For example, if you drink 1000-1200 ml of fluid per day(including soups, tea, coffee), not less than 750-900 ml should do away with the urine. The remaining quarter of the fluid is released with perspiration and breathing.
Measurement of the leg circumference at the same level in the dynamics.
Increased ankle circumference by 1 cm or more during a week indicates a fluid retention.
A dose of 0.2 ml of saline is intra-cutaneously injected with a fine needle in the inner forearm. A blister is formed, which is normally resorbed within one hour in a healthy person. The better the “edematous readiness” of the body, the faster the blister is absorbed.
Why swellings can be dangerous?
Some doctors tend to consider swellings in pregnant women a physiological phenomenon that does not require any treatment. However, there should be no protein in the urine and no high blood pressure.
Other obstetricians are sure that the swellings should be treated as edema of pregnancy in the first stage of preeclampsia and after that in 90% of cases appears protein in the urine and high blood pressure. Timely started treatment can prevent the transition of edema to the next stages of preeclampsia.
How to treat swellings in pregnant women?
- Food should not be salted as salt retains fluid in the body. During the day, allowed use of 8 g of salt instead of the usual 12-15g. Hot, spicy and smoked dishes are excluded from the menu for the same reasons. You should better cook food on steam, boil or stew, but not fry!
- The amount of fluid consumed during the second half of pregnancy should be no more than 1000-1200 ml per day. Do not forget to count in the volume of liquid contained in soup, juicy fruits and berries.
- In addition to dietary restrictions, it is important to strengthen the vascular walls and improve blood flow through the vessels. This prevents the fluid from leaking from vessels into the tissue, namely, it prevents the edema appearance. For this physicians prescribe vitamins and medication to strengthen the blood vessels.
- After consultation with the treating physician you can drink herbal teas with diuretic properties (bearberry leaf or horsetail extracts, kidney tea). Drink a glass of infusion during a day in 3-4 takes (1/3-1/4 cup at a time). Duration of the course is long: 3-4 weeks.
- Diuretic drugs are prescribed only when edema is very prominent, and even then not for long. You should never take these medications upon your own decision without the doctor’s advice!
Medical examination is obligatory!
- Swellings, especially if they appeared before the first 20 weeks of pregnancy might be a manifestation of a hidden disease. Sometimes pregnancy acts as a stimulus for a latent disease to turn into the active one because of the increased load on the diseased organ. That is why early swellings in pregnant women should be carefully examined to check kidneys and heart.
- Feet swellings may be associated with varicose veins in the legs. In this case future moms usually complain of pain and heaviness in the legs, and becoming tired too soon when walking.