Edema during pregnancy: how to relieve it? When do you have to worry?

The expert: Dr. Odile Bagot, gynecologist

Swollen feet and legs, sometimes even arms and even face… The appearance of edema is the daily fate of many pregnant women, especially in summer. These are often benign and should be monitored, as sometimes they can be a symptom of a more serious pathology. The explanations of Dr. Odile Bagot, gynecologist in Strasbourg.

Water retention is physiological during pregnancy

“Edemas are accumulations of water in the dependent parts of the body, usually the feet, or sometimes generalized throughout the body in the pregnant woman, during her pregnancy, begins Odile Bagot. In the classic case, the woman sees her lower limbs gaining volume. The legs and feet or ankles swell due to this edema. “She can also have swollen fingers at the end of pregnancy, and that’s perfectly normal.” explains the doctor. It is then a water retention associated with venous relaxation and hormonal impregnation, due to the pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone, as the name suggests. But also due to the increased blood flow in the body of the expectant mother, also due to her condition. “It sometimes causes this water seepage in the legs and arms,” adds the gynecologist.

How to relieve swollen feet, ankles and legs in pregnancy? What should I do ?

To reduce this type of edema on the body, the pregnant woman needs to elevate her legs as much as possible during the day and also at night by placing pillows under her mattress. It can also be passed through your legs to help reduce edema and improve blood circulation under a jet of cold waterand massage her. Light physical activity such as walking or swimming is also recommended during pregnancy. Finally, the mother-to-be can be prescribed by her doctor or midwife a pair or two of compression stockings. They promote venous return thanks to the curvature of the legs and the lower venous network stimulated by the tights. All of these measures limit the swelling of the feet and legs during pregnancy. Likewise, tight rubber bands are prohibitedon the legs and waist, and we prefer wearing loose clothing.

When is pregnancy edema to be feared?

“If the edema is due to the heat, the expectant mother is at the very end of her pregnancy and the edema and swelling is limited to the legs and hands, there is no need to worry,” explains the specialist. The occurrence and risk of edema can be limited by applying the above measures. « On the other hand, when edema appears suddenlythat in a few days the pregnant woman gains several kilos (which are actually water), that her face swells – we are talking about a face on the moon – that she has high blood pressure and a headache, in this case, it is dysgravida (Association of hypertension, proteinuria and edema, (Note) », Doctor’s details. These abnormal swellings must make the pregnant woman consult quickly.

What are the symptoms of dysgravida?

High blood pressure and weight gain, often before delivery

If the future mother suffers from dysgravidia, this condition adds other symptoms to the edema. “The patient willHigh blood pressure, bar pressure in the stomach, flies before the eyes (Visual impairment, editor’s note) and She will have gained a lot of weight in a few days », says the gynecologist. Dysgravida tends to occur in the third trimester. The urinalysis reveals a high protein content, which is referred to as albuminuria.

What to do with dysgravidia

When a pregnant woman has dysgravida, there is a risk to the woman’s health. but also of the unborn child. “The ultimate risk is the crisis of eclampsiaalso called pregnancy poisoningcharacterized by convulsions and the threat of death in the womb of the child”, explains the gynecologist. Fortunately, due to the monitoring of hypertension in pregnant women in France, this risk of complications is rare. If a risk is identified in a pregnant woman, treatment will depend on the stage of pregnancy. “If it happens early, during the second trimester of pregnancy, the pregnant woman is hospitalized for close monitoring, and when we have some time, we mature the child’s lungs with a cortisone shot before we do an induction or cesarean,” adds dr Add Odile Bagot. “ And if dysgravidia occurs at the end of pregnancy, its treatment is childbirth, which we will induce in order not to put both the future mother and her baby at risk. closes the specialist. With the birth of the child, the risk for the mother is completely eliminated.

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