While pregnancy is generally a wonderful experience, some surrogate mothers do unfortunately endure certain discomforts in the process. Edema is one of the most common of these; it’s characterized by the accumulation of fluids in the body, especially the legs and ankles, which in turn causes swelling.
It’s estimated that about 75% of women will experience this at some point. Here are some tips for dealing with it.
1. Rest. In warm weather, when you’ve been standing for a while, or just at the end of the day, you might notice that your feet might feel tight. Your shoes may not fit, or there may be just a general puffiness.
In general, this is nothing to worry about. Most women report their swelling subsiding after a good night’s rest, or just some time spent lying down.
2. Drink water. If you’d like to take a more active approach in treating edema, there are a couple of things you can do to help relieve the symptoms. The first, and probably one of the best, is to drink a lot of water.
While it doesn’t seem like it makes sense to get rid of fluids by taking in more, the extra fluids will help flush your system of the waste products that may have increased swelling.
Really, while pregnant, you need to drink 64 oz of water per day. One good way to accomplish this is to fill up a container of that size – carry it around and make sure you’ve emptied it by the end of the day.
3. Watch your salt intake. Many people believe that swelling is caused by excessive amounts of salt in the diet, but it can also be harmful to have too little. Moderation is the key to balance.
4. Try hydrotherapy. One recent study suggests that water immersion and water aerobics can help with swelling. It helps the body shed the excess fluids through the kidneys, while supporting the pregnant uterus.
5. Don’t wear elastic topped socks or knee-high pantyhose. Wearing restrictive clothing around the legs/ankles can trigger swelling.
6. Wear comfortable shoes; slip-on types work best. Wearing proper footwear during pregnancy is very important to help ward off swelling.
7. Put your feet up when possible. If you stand at work, try to move around slightly or get a stool to prop your feet up.
Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet are normal in pregnancy. However, swelling of the hands and face are not normal – if this happens, and it sometimes does, consult with your doctor.
With the proper know-how, though, most swelling can easily be managed. It may still be somewhat uncomfortable – but that discomfort can be reduced significantly, making your surrogate motherhood experience far more pleasant.