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Swelling In Pregnancy

November 13th, 2016

A certain amount of swelling or puffiness in the hands and feet is considered normal, and commonly appears in the latter stages of pregnancy.  It can cause great discomfort and make it difficult to walk, or use your hands to their usual capacity.  Not to mention leaving you without shoes that fit, providing the perfect excuse to go shoe shopping.  Online of course; as the walk around the shops will be close to torture.

On a more serious note, whatever level of swelling you have, it is always best to talk to your perinatal care provider (eg. Obstetrician, Midwife) who can evaluate the swelling and determine if further action is required.  Medical professionals and pregnancy practitioners are always weary of swelling during pregnancy.  A medical condition called Pre-eclampsia is of particular concern, especially during the summer months when the prevalence of swelling is increased.

Pre-eclampsia typically takes effect in the third trimester.  It is characterised by high blood pressure, swelling and high levels of protein in the urine.  Symptoms may include:  swelling, headaches, dizziness, visual disturbances, nausea & vomiting.  But in some cases women may feel fine, so it is vitally important to have regular antenatal check-ups so spikes in blood pressure, and other indicators, can be identified and acted upon in a timely manner.

If left untreated pre-eclampsia can lead to convulsions, kidney and liver failure, clotting problems or even death.  There is no cure for pre-eclampsia, as such.  In some cases it may be necessary to induce labour or undergo an emergency cesarean section.  In other cases bed rest and medication may be required to control blood pressure and prevent convulsions.  Once baby and placenta is birthed, the condition disappears.

Normal or minor pregnancy swelling in the hands and feet may be reduced by resting and elevating the affected areas (eg sitting with feet elevated).  Massage can also assist in the reduction of swelling during pregnancy.  And specialised manual lymphatic drainage massage techniques can be particularly effective in relieving the tightness and discomfort associated with this type of swelling.

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a very specific technique. It is gentle and rhythmic in its application, and it is perfectly safe during pregnancy.   MLD works on the lymphatic system to help move or eliminate fluid from the body.

If you have ballooning ankles (cankles) or puffy hands, book an appointment now.

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