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.
Since early 2011, Australia has had a Paid Parental Leave scheme. This allows eligible working parents to get paid for up to 18 weeks when they take time off work to care for a new baby or recently adopted child.
Driving during pregnancy can present a unique set of risks - it pays to be as informed as possible about the facts.
Currently in Australia, there is no recommendation for pregnant women to stop driving. And it’s not illegal in any Australian State or Territory to drive during pregnancy. The same road rules apply to all drivers, pregnant or otherwise. But pregnancy itself is not a reason to stop driving.
Our understanding of exercise in pregnancy + postpartum has come a long way in the recent years, and we are much more likely to treat the “normal” pregnancy as a normal physiological process – not a disability.
Exercise in the postpartum period is helpful to regain your shape, increase your energy levels, lift your mood and give you the strength required for your new job of mothering.
Your new role will involve a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing, getting up from chairs and the floor, and holding for feeding.
After the birth of your baby there is a period of healing and physical adjustment from the effects of pregnancy as well as from your labour or delivery.
During pregnancy, there is increased pressure on the pelvic floor from your growing baby, placenta and extra fluid.