Swelling or puffiness of fingers and hands is often seen during pregnancy. You can easily make out the extent of swelling with the help of your finger ring. While swelling is generally not a cause of concern, sometimes hand swelling during pregnancy can be indicative of some serious problem and may need medical attention.
What Causes Swelling Of The Hands In Pregnancy?
Fluid retention increases during pregnancy, owing to excess blood that a woman’s body produces to meet the growing demands of the fetus. Infact, the volume grows up by around 50 percent – that means more blood and other vital body fluids for the proper growth and development of the baby. The surplus fluid fills the tissue spaces of your hands, ankles and legs. These fluids soften the body, opening the joints and tissues so as to ease your delivery. The swelling is more pronounced from fifth month onwards, lasting through the third trimester.
Swelling is also influenced by gravitational force. It helps the fluid build-up at the lowest points of your body such as ankles, fingers, etc.
When Is Swelling Indicative Of A Medical Intervention?
Mild swelling around ankles, face or fingers is normal but medical intervention is required if following conditions are noticed:
- If swelling is confined to one leg and redness, tenderness and lumps are noted in calf
- If swelling is more in hands and wrist as it can be indicative of carpal tunnel syndrome where the nerves of the arm are compressed by the swelling
- Pregnancy swelling often becomes worse few days prior to onset of labor pains. The swelling subsides after birth. The body expels all the extra tissues, fluid and blood vessels that were required for the proper development of your baby. After birth they are of no use and so are eliminated form your body
- The common symptom that you experience with subsiding swelling is excessive urination
- Consult your doctor if you notice sudden or more than slight swelling in your hands, which could be a sign of pre-eclampsia
Swollen, Painful Hands During Pregnancy
Swelling in the hands is generally caused by fluid buildup in the body, and is also known as edema. If swollen hands become painful, keep them raised for few minutes every day. This is amazing as it reduces pain and swelling immediately however for lasting results you will have to follow dietary remedies too.
You can read more about edema here and simple remedies to treat edema here.
Tips To Prevent Swelling In Pregnancy
There are a few tips for preventing swelling from becomes intense. The fingers and joints become tender and painful if the swelling becomes severe.
- Diet: Eat balanced healthy diet to ensure you get proper amount of vital nutrients. Make sure to add lean protein for example poultry, meat, beans, eggs and pulses
- Fruits and green vegetables: Increase fruit and vegetable intake and make sure you take around five to six portions every day
- Cut down on salt: Salt intake increases fluid retention so reduce its intake to encourage reduction of swelling. Foods enriched in potassium such as banana can be effective in reducing swelling
- Increase water intake: Drink plenty of water around 12-14 glasses per day. Water aids kidney in filtering excess fluids out of your body.
Cut down on packaged foods: Highly processed pre-packaged foods have a lot of preservatives and salt and both are extremely harmful for fluid retention as they make matters worse
- Say ‘yes’ to vitamin C and E: Eat foods rich in vitamin E and vitamin C as they are beneficial in reducing fluid retention. Some rich sources of vitamin E are Wheatgerm oil, vegetable oil, sweetcorn, sunflower oil, cashews, almonds, margarine and corn oil. Foods rich in vitamin C are green and red peppers, citrus fruits, potatoes, melons, tomatoes, cabbage, strawberries, broccoli, etc.
- Rest: Rest is very important factor in expediting the process of swelling reduction. Rest not only rejuvenates your exasperated existence but also helps in mitigating swelling
- Massage: Massaging is also helpful in reducing swelling. You can ask your partner to give you a gentle massage. Gentle massage increase blood circulation and helps in eliminating toxins from your body. Gentle massaging with olive or mustard oil is helpful in easing the pain. Cold compress is also effective in relieving pain
- Say ‘no’ to aromatherapy: Aromatic oils massages are not safe for pregnant women. So, avoid aromatic essential oils though, you can add few drops in a bowl and soak your hands and feet in it for few minutes. Lavender oil, camomile oil and cypress oil are good in reducing swelling and associated discomfort
- Place green or white cabbage: Keep few white or green cabbage leaves on the swollen region and extracts excess fluid from your body
- Dandelion tea: This is an amazing herbal remedy in preventing fluid retention. But you should avoid it in case you have any gall bladder ailment. Do not drink it in excess one or two cup is sufficient
Do not panic! Swollen hand and fingers is a transient condition and will pass by as the baby is born. Once the fluid goes out of the body, your hands will again be svelte and you can use them to love and caress your baby.