Edema are physiological and pathological. Since both varieties occur during pregnancy, and the difference between them is large, only a doctor should assess the situation.
Physiological edema is usually localized in the legs and feet. Unlike pathological, they are not symptoms of serious diseases, they do not require treatment and they pass on their own.
Most often, physiological edema appears in the second half of pregnancy, with approximately 80% of women. There are several reasons.
First, the volume of circulating blood during pregnancy increases by almost 1.5 times, and small blood vessels (capillaries) under the influence of changes in the future mother’s body can begin to pass fluid through the walls. Also, in women “in position”, water-salt metabolism is often disturbed: sodium salts accumulate in the body, which prevent water from going outside.
Plus, it increases the level of progesterone hormone, which contributes to fluid retention in tissues. Approximately the same thing happens in some women before menstruation: it is not clear where a couple of extra pounds come from, and sometimes the face and hands swell a little.
By the way, the longer the period of pregnancy, the higher the risk of edema. Why? On the one hand, the water balance of the body is changing, on the other hand, the uterus and the child are noticeably increasing in size.
As the baby grows, the uterus every day squeezes more closely the nearby organs, including the veins of the small pelvis of the mother. The movement of blood in them slows down, and blood pressure increases in the legs, causing swelling and a feeling of heaviness in the lower limbs.
In contrast, pathological physiological edema usually occurs after a long walk or in the late afternoon, but not in the morning. They pass rather quickly, it is worth the future mother to lie down for half an hour with her legs raised up. Excessive consumption of salty foods (pickled cucumbers, sauerkraut, salted fish), hot weather, overwork can provoke the occurrence of physiological edema.
So, for prevention, you will have to adjust your habits and the mode of work and rest.
There are four main reasons for pathological edema. The first involves heart disease, the second – a violation of the kidneys, the third – varicose veins of the lower extremities, and the fourth – the development of preeclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy.
A distinctive feature of pathological edema is the presence of other symptoms accompanying the underlying disease. So, with preeclampsia, there is increased blood pressure, and urine analysis reveals the presence of protein, which normally should not be.
With varicose veins pain in the legs, fatigue when walking, dilate and become well visible saphenous veins.
Treatment in each case is selected individually. For example, during preeclampsia, women are prescribed special drugs that improve blood circulation and metabolism so that toxins and slags are promptly removed from the mother’s body.
If necessary, also appointed pressure lowering agents. As soon as the condition of the woman stabilizes, the swelling decreases or disappears altogether.
For varicose veins, compression knitwear helps. When kidney disease is usually prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs, and if necessary also antibiotics, antispasmodics.
If the swelling is not visualized, this does not mean that they are not, because they are not only explicit, but also hidden. The second type can be suspected due to two simple tests: control weighing and “drinking diary”. If the weight gain exceeds 300 grams per week, and the amount of liquid consumed by 300–400 ml exceeds the amount of liquid emitted, the problem is most likely present.
In addition, during each routine examination, an obstetrician-gynecologist can measure leg circumference at the same level.
The future mother noticed obvious edema without difficulty: by the evening even well-worn shoes begin to reap, her hands become swollen, the wedding ring is removed with difficulty.
Regardless of the nature of the edema, all future mothers are advised to follow a set of lightweight rules to reduce the risk of this symptom or alleviate the condition against the background of “exacerbation”.
- Do not stand long and do not sit for hours in a sitting position. Change your body position more often, do a light workout every hour, or take a short walk.
- Choose your comfortable, sustainable shoes. The maximum heel height is 5 cm.
- Limit salt intake to 8 g per day; It is advisable to salt the food directly on the plate, and not during cooking. It is necessary to exclude from the diet fried, smoked, spicy dishes, as well as fast food.
- Do not forget that sugar and foods rich in fast carbohydrates (potatoes, polished rice, pasta and flour products made from high-grade flour) contribute to metabolic disturbances that predispose to edema. Their volume in the diet should be carefully monitored.
- On the recommendation of the attending physician, you may have to calculate the amount of fluid consumed, including soups, and limit it to 1200–1500 ml per day.
- To quench your thirst best drinking water, traditional black and herbal tea.
- In case of swelling, the future mother should never take diuretic drugs on her own without a doctor’s prescription, because they can aggravate the situation even more. Diuretics “push” the kidneys to work, but as a result, the body expels the fluid from the vascular bed, and not the one that accumulates in the tissues and causes swelling. This means that the risk of dehydration is greatly increased.