Your body is now producing 50% more blood and body fluids. The extra retention of these fluids will soften the body and help in expanding to accommodate the developing baby. This causes edema, where your hands and legs swell up.
If you have been standing for longer periods, the weather is very hot, have been drinking more coffee and consuming foods which are high in sodium and low in potassium, the swelling can get aggravated. If the swelling is more, you need to consult your doctor. It could be a sign of preeclampsia (high blood pressure, more protein in urine).
There are many ways in which you can manage swelling during pregnancy:
-Avoid standing for longer time and minimize outdoor time when its very hot. Elevate your legs while you are sitting. -Swim or rest in a pool. Swimming will help in circulation of blood and fluids in the body. You can also walk or float in the water. -Drink adequate water which will help flush the body, thereby reducing water retention. -Having regular bowel movements will flush out more of water and sodium from your system. A diet having adequate fibre like oats, pears, apples, carrots, brown rice will ease bowel movements. Regular moderate intensity exercises also helps the intestines to do their work. -Apply cold compress on swollen areas. -Avoid heels and wear comfortable footwear. -Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes especially around wrists and ankles.
In case the above does not give much relief, consult your doctor at the earliest. There could be an underlying condition like preeclampsia or she can prescribe medicines that aids in flushing out excess fluids.
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