What is Pitted Edema?
Pitted edema is a type of swelling linked to increased pressure in the veins of the extremities, most commonly the legs, which are common during pregnancy. It is caused by an accumulation of fluid in the body and is typically characterized by an indentation, hence the name pitted edema, when the swollen area is pressed with a finger. The depressions remain for a few seconds before filling back up and this is a major distinguishing feature of pitted edema during pregnancy.
What Causes Edema During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the increase in hormones that are required to support the growing baby, can cause the body to retain more fluid, resulting in edema, or swelling. As the body pressure increases, the veins become constricted, leading to a buildup of fluid and thus, a swelling.
Symptoms of Edema During Pregnancy
The following symptoms may indicate the presence of edema during pregnancy:
- Swollen hands, legs and feet
- Unexplained weight gain
- Increased abdominal girth
- Pitted indentations, imprinted when the area is pressed
Furthermore, edema that is accompanied by a fever and redness or pain, may indicate a more serious underlying infection and should be brought to the attention of a doctor or midwife.
Treatment of Edema During Pregnancy
Edema linked to pregnancy is typically harmless and can be managed with simple natural remedies and lifestyle modifications.
The following lifestyle modifications are recommended in cases of edema during pregnancy:
- Avoiding tight clothing and constrictive jewelry
- Avoid standing for long periods of time
- Rest with the feet propped up for several times a day
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of fluids daily
- Sleeping on the left side to reduce pressure off the internal organs
The following natural remedies may help relieve edema during pregnancy:
- Reducing sodium intake
- Soaking feet regularly in a mild Epsom salt solution)
- Applying cold compresses to swollen areas
- Regularly exercising to improve circulation
It is important to consult with a doctor or qualified healthcare provider before undertaking any natural treatment for edema during pregnancy.
In conclusion, edema, or swelling, that is accompanied by the distinguishing feature of “pitted indentations” when pressed, could be an indicator of pregnancy-related edema. Although, in most cases, this is a harmless condition that can be managed through lifestyle modifications and natural remedies, it is important to consult a doctor or midwife if any other symptoms present themselves.
The best way to combat edema in pregnancy is to take preventative measures to reduce the risk. These include maintaining a healthy body weight, refraining from wearing tight clothing or jewelry, staying hydrated and getting plenty of regular exercise.
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