During pregnancy, women go through several changes physically. Many women continue to encounter certain problems even after the birth of their child. One of them is postpartum oedema. This is a condition that women go through right after pregnancy, which can cause swelling of the face, ankles, and belly. It can also spread to the hands and legs, and can sometimes be painful, making the situation unpleasant.
Causes of Postpartum Oedema
There are many reasons why women suffer from postpartum oedema. Here are some of them:
Progesterone is a hormone that is produced in a large quantity during pregnancy. It can cause the body to retain sodium and water, which in turn leads to swelling.
- IV Fluids
During labour, a woman is given IV fluids to prevent dehydration. However, it can also lead to inflammation which is most likely to happen after a caesarian birth.
- Hypoproteinemia and Anemia
Hypoproteinemia is a condition characterized by lower-than-normal levels of protein in the body. When a person has a deficiency of red blood cells in her body, it’s called anemia. If a mother contracts any or both of these ailments after delivery, she may suffer from postpartum oedema.
Medical conditions like chronic hypertension and even pregnancy-induced hypertension and hypothyroid renal disorders can be a cause of postpartum swelling.
How to tell it is Swelling after Pregnancy
The symptoms of postpartum oedema are very visible and can be characterized by:
- Swollen hands and feet
- Weight gain
- Swollen ankles
- Puffy Skin
After pregnancy, if you notice swelling in your arms, feet and other parts of the body, don’t panic as it will go away on its own. This could take a couple of weeks. The swelling that happens in most women is because of fluids that remain in the body after childbirth.
Treatment for Post Pregnancy Oedema
Post-pregnancy oedema is common and does not need any special treatment in general. However, you can do some simple things at home which can reduce the swelling and pain. If the situation gets worse, you need to consult a doctor since it could be a sign of other health complications which needs a proper diagnosis.
Here are some home remedies that you can try for swollen feet after pregnancy.
- Massage: Massaging can help improve blood flow and soothes pain eventually. Try giving yourself a soothing massage every now and then to get relief from swelling.
- Exercise: Doing exercise is a great way to get back into your pre-pregnancy shape and to reduce swelling. But make sure you talk to your doctor before you take up any exercise after pregnancy.
- Drink plenty of Water: Water helps to flush out excess fluids from the body and helps in reducing swelling. Many people think that if you drink water, there will be more fluids in the body and lead to more swelling. However, this is not true at all and drinking water can help with your postpartum oedema.
- Eat Fruits: Fruits have anti-inflammatory properties and eating fruits can help increase metabolism. This can speed up healing and give you relief from postpartum swelling.
- Increase intake of Protein-rich Foods: Low protein in the body is a reason for swelling, and so it is beneficial to start adding high protein foods in your diet.
- Stay away from Processed & Fast Foods: Avoid processed and fast foods as they have high levels of sodium, which leads to the retention of fluids in the body.
- Keep your Feet and Hands elevated: Elevate your hands and feet regularly to improve blood circulation. This will reduce the swelling in the body and give you rest postpartum.
- Avoid being in a Stationary Position: Body movements can help in blood circulation. Sitting and standing in the right way for the right amount of time can help reduce swelling and improve the blood flow.
- Get plenty of Rest: Avoid exerting yourself when your body is swollen and if you are experiencing any kind of pain. Try getting enough rest if things get too much to handle.
- Soak your Feet: Soaking your feet in warm water with sea salt or bath salts can help soothe the pain and reduce swelling.
If you have a C-section delivery, there are increased chances of developing swelling in the legs. In such cases, you can use an ice compressor or take a shower in warm water to reduce the pain. Avoid bath lotions if your stitches haven’t fully healed.
When to see your Doctor
Usually, postpartum oedema is not so serious that you need to see a doctor about. It tends to go down by itself in a week’s time. It rarely becomes a medical condition that lasts for weeks. However, you may need to seek medical help in case:
- Your oedema lasts for several weeks. You should try other methods to reduce the pain but if nothing helps, see your doctor about it.
- Your pain becomes unbearable. Sometimes, the pain may be excruciating and you may need some form of pain relief medication. But in your weakened state, it is not a good idea to self-medicate without consulting a doctor.
- You experience breathing problems. This can be a sign of an impending congestive heart failure. In this case, you will need immediate medical attention so see your doctor as soon as you can.
The journey of pregnancy and post-pregnancy can be challenging. While you are already going through a lot, swelling and pregnancy can make the transition more difficult. In this case, stay calm and prepared, and follow the above steps to manage your symptoms. If nothing helps, you can visit our expert team of doctors at KIMS Cuddles.