Swollen legs are often a sign of serious health problems such as heart disease and kidney failure. However not all swelling is bad.
In pregnancy, female body starts to accumulate fluid in the lower extremities, hands and face during fifth month, increasing this accumulation in the course of third trimester.
Doctors say that during pregnancy, woman's body creates approximately 50% more blood and other fluids in order to provide normal growth and development of the baby.
This physiological swelling (edema) helps to soften your body to accomodate a baby. In addition to this it prepares pelvic joints and soft tissues for stretching during delivery.
Nearly one quarter of the weight that women gain, while being pregnant, comes from extra fluids.
In most cases fluid builds up in the ankles, feet and legs. It was found that pregnant womb puts pressure on the veins that can impair blood flow from the leg veins to the pelvic area.
That's why pregnant women have higher risks of getting varicose veins.
When you give a birth, a lot of fluids go out of your body. However it's not uncommon that even after delivery your legs and hands stay swollen. It's especially frequent problem for women, who take too much sodium and caffeine, don't get enough potassium, are active all day long and stand for extended periods of time. Swelling may be more appreciable in the hot weather with high humidity.
During the cesarean section doctors usually give high amounts of intravenous fluids to patient that may also result in postpartum swelling.
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Don't panic, if noticed that your lower limbs are still swollen after labor. Here are helpful ways to deal with this problems effectively:
#1. Choose comfortable shoes – high-heeled and tight shoes can disrupt blood circulation in the legs. Choose comfortable footwear that won't constrict the feet and wrists.
#2. Apply cold compress – wrap ice pack into the towel and put this compress on the swollen areas to reduce swelling and relieve discomfort.
#3. Move your legs – try to avoid standing for a long time. Have a rest as frequently as possible, elevating your legs, rotating the feet and flexing them to stretch the muscles and improve circulation. And remember that crossing legs while sitting is a really bad habit, as it reduces normal blood flow.
#4. Go easy on salt – sodium is one of the main culprits that can hold extra fluid inside the body. Stop to add salt to the dishes and try to avoid processed foods, which usually contain a lot of sodium.
#5. Drink more water – sounds weird, isn't it? Even though your body accumulates too much fluid after delivery, drinking more clean water may help flush the organism and decrease swelling.
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