You’re in your last trimester, you feel great in the morning but like a squishy beach ball at night. By evening you may find your legs, feet and ankles are swollen due to fluid retention. And rings may become too tight to wear on swollen fingers. Unpleasant as this may be, slight swelling, especially in the evening, is pretty common and nothing to worry about. But call your health care provider if you have severe or sudden swelling, particularly in your hands or in your face around the eyes. This could be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia.
Here are some ways to prevent and relieve swelling:
• Get up, stretch and move around periodically. No long-term couch potatoes!
• Exercise, like walking or swimming, improves circulation and lessens swelling.
• Cooling off can help. If it’s hot outside, take a cool shower, float in a pool in the shade, use cool compresses to make yourself comfortable.
• Put your feet up. Elevated tootsies help keep fluids from pooling in your feet. And don’t cross your legs when you sit.
• Avoid tight clothes and jewelry. Many women remove rings or even their wristwatch in the last month or so.
• Salty foods can make you retain water, so avoid excess salt. But some salt in your diet is good for you.
• Do drink fluids, especially water. Odd as it may sound, you don’t want to risk dehydration.
Call your health care provider right away if one leg swells larger than another, if swelling comes on quickly (especially in the hands and face) or if it is accompanied by a nasty headache, changes in your vision, dizziness or belly pain. These are all signs of preeclampsia.