Swelling in Pregnancy: When Should I Worry?

Minor swelling in pregnancy is normal however, sudden swelling in your hands, feet or face could be a sign of preeclampsia - a serious disorder characterised by high blood pressure, protein in the urine and severe fluid retention. It is therefore important to contact your health care provider about any sudden swelling.

The primary cause of minor swelling (also known as oedema) during pregnancy is due to the increased blood and body fluids produced, to support the needs of your growing baby.

It’s not necessarily possible to prevent minor swelling but you can prevent it from becoming too severe.

Reduce your intake of salt, sugar, caffeine and fat, and avoid eating pre-packaged, highly processed foods that contain both salt and other additives, as these can make fluid retention worse. Drink plenty of water to help your kidneys filter the excess fluid and opt for foods that are naturally rich in vitamins C and E, such as citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables.

Onions and garlic may also help to improve your circulation.

Avoid standing for long periods; wear comfortable (flat) shoes and loose clothing, and rest with your feet elevated. You may also benefit from wearing compression stockings.

In particularly hot weather apply an ice pack to the swollen areas and keep the fluids up. Swimming is also a great way to help reduce inflammation and get your circulation moving.

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