Oedema During Pregnancy: All You Need to Know


The word oedema means swelling, and the vast majority of the women suffer from swelling of the ankles and feet at some stage during pregnancy with no cause of alarm. However it is one of the classic signs of seriously potential problem known as pre-eclampsia. So all conditions of oedema are taken seriously in pregnancy.

The considerable difference between oedema and ordinary swelling of the ankles and feet is its ‘pitting’ nature. It essentially means that if pressure is applied to an area of oedema with the finger or thumb for 20-30 seconds and then removed, the area being compressed will have a ‘pit’ or hollow in it which can be both seen and felt easily.

​Oedema During Pregnancy: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

​Oedema During Pregnancy


Swelling (oedema) happens because your body is holding on to more fluid than usual. Your leg veins may feel increased pressure , and pressure from your growing baby on the big veins in your groin, add to the problem. Swelling is common. Nearby half of the pregnant women experience it around their ankles, particularly in the last few months of pregnancy. Your fingers, face and lower back become swollen, too.

The swelling in your legs usually gets worse towards the end of the day, especially if you’re on your feet a lot. Tropical weather and being tired can also make swelling worse.

Call your doctor or midwife if the swelling


Moves up your calf and leaves an indentation when pressed, or is sudden or severe in your face, hands or feet. If it occurs in your third trimester, it could mean that you have preeclampsia. Occurs only in one leg, particularly if your calf is red, tender and lumpy. These can be symptoms of a blood clot in your vein (thrombosis).

If your wrists and hands are swollen, you may develop carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The extra tissue, blood vessels and fluid needed during pregnancy need to be dissolved and expelled. This create wee a lot more, but your kidneys can’t deal with all the extra fluid right away.


Severe swelling can make your legs painful and your skin tender. You put on a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy eat balanced diet. Your diet should include a small amount of protein, such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or beans and legumes, with each meal.

Eat at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. Try to have a mixture of colours in your selection of fruit and veg. Pursue to reduce how much salt, sugar and fat you have. Cut out pre-packaged, highly processed foods, as they are usually high in all three.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, as this will help your body to hoard less water.

Opt for foods that are naturally rich in vitamins C and E. Good sources of vitamin C include:


Foods rich in vitamin E include:

Good reason to quit smoking during pregnancy is that it causes swelling .


Foods that are high in potassium should be taken , such as bananas, and by avoiding caffeine swelling is reduced .

  • Avoid standing for long periods.
  • Minimize outdoor time when it is hot.
  • Rest with your feet elevated.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, avoiding high heels if possible.
  • Wear supportive tights or stockings.
  • Tight clothes around your wrists or ankles should be avoided .
  • Rest or swim in a pool.
  • Use cold compresses on swollen areas.
  • Drink water, which helps flush the body and reduce water retention.
  • Minimize sodium (salt) intake and avoid adding additional salt to meals.

Complementary therapies


Aromatherapy using essential oils may help with swelling. Cypress oil is good for circulation and varicose veins. Lavender oil and chamomile oil may ease your discomfort and make you feel more relaxed.

Herbal remedies

The weed of the daisy family which is widely distributed called Dandelion tea, a herbal remedy, may help to prevent fluid retention, but don’t take it if you have a gallbladder condition.


Chiropractic and Osteopathy treat misalignments in your skeleton, which may be placing stress and tension on specific areas of your body. But no evidence that this can ease they type of swelling that happens during pregnancy.



Scientific study that works on the principle that your feet or hands represent a map of your body, with certain points corresponding to the body’s functions. Having a session of this system may involve putting your feet up, with gentle massage of and pressure on areas of your feet. Actions mentioned above help also to ease swelling in your lower legs and feet. You may find it a relaxing treatment, as long as your feet and legs aren’t painfully swollen.

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