Pregnancy is a physiological situation in which hormonal alterations occur, and in which the woman experiences a series of changes in blood volume, heart function and kidney function to accommodate the growing needs of the fetus. These changes can cause some discomfort, especially in late pregnancy. Do you want to know what are the most common and frequent discomfort in the legs of pregnant women? Take note of them and how to alleviate them
One of the most frequent discomforts during pregnancy is the appearance of edema or swelling in the legs, and varicose veins, often accompanied by pain.
During pregnancy, the uterus grows and exerts pressure on the blood vessels that carry blood from the lower limbs to the heart. Due to this compression, venous return is hindered, circulation slows down and favors the retention of blood and fluids in the lower areas of the body (legs and feet).
This is the origin of many symptoms and problems that occur especially at the end of pregnancy, such as swelling of the feet and ankles, pain in the legs and feet, varicose veins ... These discomforts can increase in the last trimester of pregnancy and at the end of the day , also in multiple pregnancies, and they usually disappear after delivery as there is no pressure from the uterus on the blood vessels. It is normal for women to sweat and urinate a lot and frequently after giving birth to eliminate this excess fluid.
Due to this venous insufficiency in pregnancy, varicose veins or varicose veins can also appear due to the swelling and dilation of the venous tissue in the legs and, even, in the vulva, which is increased by the increase in estrogens, and some genetic factors. For this same reason, hemorrhoids also appear.
It is, as we have said, one of the most common symptoms in a woman who is expecting a baby, but luckily there are some measures to take to try to alleviate this pain, swelling and discomfort.
- Avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
- Keep your legs elevated for as long as possible: at work, at home, on the couch ... This way we promote venous return.
- Lie on the left side, so that the uterus does not press the vena cava that is more to the right side.
- Avoid standing or sitting for a long time, and with your legs crossed, as it favors the accumulation of blood and fluids in the feet and legs.
- Avoid tight clothing, socks, underwear, pants that put a lot of pressure ...
- Gentle, relaxing and draining massages to facilitate venous return. Decongestant and refreshing creams and gels can be used.
- Perform moderate physical exercise, at least 20-30 minutes a day, since the muscular contractions favor the venous return. For example: walking, Pilates, yoga, swimming for pregnant women or midwifery ...
- Perform circulatory exercises of the feet and legs (dorsiflexion, rotation of the feet ...).
- Compression stockings can be used during the day.
- Healthy diet, paying special attention to hydration.
- Avoid constipation.
It is very common for swelling or edema to occur in the lower extremities throughout pregnancy without any repercussions, however, you should consult a specialist to rule out other complications if:
- You feel sudden pain in the thigh and / or leg, itching (itching), tenderness, redness of the skin and hardening of the tissue around the varicose veins, as it may be a sign of thrombophlebitis or thrombosis. (If prolonged immobilization or air travel is expected, consult a specialist before doing it. There are some drugs to prevent thrombosis)
- The edema persists throughout the day and does not diminish despite the recommendations mentioned above. Then you have to check blood pressure, to rule out pre-eclampsia.
Do not forget that the best solution for these typical pregnancy discomforts is prevention (physical exercise, healthy diet ...). If in doubt, consult your referral specialist (midwife, gynecologist, primary care physician ...).
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