Tuesday, June 28, 2011

edema or swelling/puffiness during pregnancy

I woke up at around 4am to pee this morning to see that my toes have swollen.

Oh my! EDEMA!
Edema is when excess fluid collects in your body tissues. Minor edema is normal during pregnancy.
But as they say, none is definitely better than a little edema since a little more edema than usual must be avoided.

I am having positional edema or so i hope.

Positional edema is brought about by one's position as in sleeping or lying down when the body's circulation is compromised to a certain degree. This then causes blood to pool on the extremities thus leaving excess fluids in the tissues of our hands and feet.

As the name indicates, since it is caused by one's position, then, positional changes may help to reduce it.

So, instead of going back to bed/sleep, I decided to do a little stationary walking and a lot of wriggling my toes. And I also stretch out my calf muscles by stretching out my legs and dorsiflexing my feet. (dorsiflexion
NB: Pointing ones toes out is a no-no since it induces the terrible cramps.

And, I also wriggled my fingers during this time since it felt like I had arthritis... as if the joint of my fingers are getting stiff.
This, I also credit to positional edema.

To my relief, both the edema of my hands and feet are significantly reduced with the positional changes and exercise.

Here's an article I bumped into online which says more on how to reduce edema.

What can I do to minimize the puffiness?

Here are a few tips:
  • Put your feet up whenever possible. At work, it helps to keep a stool or pile of books under your desk. At home, lie on your left side when possible.
  • Don't cross your legs or ankles while sitting.
  • Stretch your legs frequently while sitting: Stretch your leg out, heel first, and gently flex your foot to stretch your calf muscles. Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes.
  • Take regular breaks from sitting or standing. A short walk every so often will help keep your blood circulating.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that stretch to accommodate the swelling.
  • Don't wear socks or stockings that have tight bands around the ankles or calves.
  • Try waist-high maternity support stockings. Put them on before you get out of bed in the morning so blood doesn't have a chance to pool around your ankles.
  • Drink plenty of water. Surprisingly, this helps your body retain less water.
  • Exercise regularly, especially by walking, swimming, or riding an exercise bike. Or try a water aerobics class — immersion in water may temporarily help reduce swelling, particularly if the water level is up near your shoulders.
  • Eat well, and avoid junk food.
Try not to let pregnancy swelling get you down. The sight of your swollen ankles will probably add to your feeling of ungainliness, but edema is a temporary condition that will pass soon after you give birth.

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