Knowing the healthy symptoms and the unhealthy – edema
Getting pregnant generally is a thing of joy but there are some symptoms that make pregnancy no fun. Most are not harmful but as an older Mom, we need to identify the harmful ones so we can be cautious when we have them.
During pregnancy, you may have mild swelling throughout your body especially, in your feet and ankles. The amount of swelling you experience can vary by the hour as it is more prominent in the evening, and by the weather (it has been confirmed that warmer temperatures forecast more swelling).
Edema affects about three quarters of pregnant women. It starts around week 22 to week 27 of pregnancy, and will likely stick around until you give birth. As stated not every woman would experience it.
Edema occurs when body fluids increase to nurture you and your baby and accumulate due to your tissues increased blood flow and pressure of your growing uterus on your pelvic veins and your vena cava (the large vein on the right side of your body that returns blood from your lower limbs to your heart). This causes you to experience this swelling — particularly around your ankles and feet (but also your hands as you will notice your ring getting tighter). You might also be sporting more swelling in your feet if you gain weight fast during pregnancy.
Mild swelling of the ankles and feet can be harmless and perfectly normal. It’s also normal not to experience noticeable swelling (1 in 4 lucky pregnant women don’t). However if your hands or face become puffy or if swelling persists for more than a day at a time (i.e., it doesn’t improve overnight), visit your doctor.
Excessive swelling can be one sign of preeclampsia — but when it is, it’s usually accompanied by a variety of other symptoms such as elevated blood pressure (bp), rapid weight gain and protein in the urine. If your blood pressure and urine are normal (they’re checked at each prenatal visit), there’s nothing to be concerned about.
Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs only during pregnancy. Some symptoms of preeclampsia may include high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It usually occurs after week 20 of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is often prohibited by gestational hypertension. While high blood pressure during pregnancy does not necessarily indicate preeclampsia, it may be a sign of another problem.
It usually affects first time Moms, moms under 20 and moms over 40 amongst other reasons.
If preeclampsia is not treated quickly and properly, it can lead to serious life threatening condition for mother and baby like Eclampsia – This is a severe form of preeclampsia that leads to seizures in the mother.
Preeclampsia can prevent the placenta from getting enough blood. If the placenta doesn’t get enough blood, your baby gets less oxygen and food leading to low birth weight. If detected early, one can deliver a healthy baby with regular prenatal care.
Unfortunately, presently, there is no sure way to prevent preeclampsia. Some contributing factors to high blood pressure can be controlled and some cannot. Follow your doctor’s instruction about diet and exercise and you will be good through pregnancy till your bundle of joy arrives.