Oedema

Oedema is the medical term for fluid retention in the body. Oedema in pregnancy is usually caused by the extra blood circulating in your body and the pressure of the growing womb on the pelvic veins. This tends to affect the large vein that receives blood from your lower limbs, and the pressure on it slows down your circulation. Many mums-to-be develop mild oedema in their ankles, feet and fingers, particularly towards the end of pregnancy, and when it is hot. This is normal unless accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as high blood pressure. However, if you have sudden or severe swelling in your face, hands, feet or legs, you should contact your midwife or doctor as it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, which can be a serious condition for you and your baby.

There are a few things that can help to reduce puffiness in hands, feet and ankles:

• put your feet up when you are sitting down and try to sleep on your left side which will take pressure off major
  blood vessels
• drink plenty of water – surprisingly, keeping yourself hydrated helps your body retain less water
• exercise regularly
• try to avoid salty foods
• wearing support tights can also help

If you would like more support and advice just get in touch with our Careline
on 0800 977 8880

Glossary

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