Edema, or Manas in our native tongue Filipino, is a medical term used for swelling caused by fluid retention in the tiny space between tissues known as the interstitial compartment of our body. Edema can be caused by different factors like high blood pressure, high salt intake, kidney or liver disease, poor blood and lymphatic circulation, and inflammation. There are different types of Edema like Edemas seen in the peripherals, in the face, and in the brain to name a few. These types of Edema are called Peripheral Edema, Facial Edema, and Cerebral Edema, respectively. The Edema that we will be discussed in this article is Peripheral Edema, specifically the Edematous Feet of a pregnant woman.
Edematous feet or Edema on the feet, are noticed by a pregnant woman when she sees her feet with line marks from her shoes. Sometimes, in the afternoon, a pregnant woman would notice her shoes do not fit her anymore even though it fits perfectly this morning. Remember that Edema is normal on the first trimester of pregnancy. Some pregnant women would not be bothered by their edematous feet but some would panic at the sight of it. This is why it is very important to educate expecting moms what to expect in their pregnancy. During their prenatal visit, a health care provider should stress that Edema is not dangerous during the first trimester especially if the woman’s blood pressure is normal. However if pregnant women noticed edema during their third trimester, they should consult their doctor because there could be an underlying problem that needs to be evaluated.
As stated in the first paragraph, Edema can be caused by a lot of factors. In the case of pregnant women, Edema is common in the first trimester because of two factors. First is because of an increase in blood volume to supply both the baby and the mother. Increase blood volumemight also be because of salt intake that causes water retention. Second is due to the growing uterus that puts pressure to theinferior vena cava which is a blood vessel that returns the blood from the lower extremities to the heart. Because of the compression of the vena cava, there is a poor blood and lymphatic circulation. The increase blood volume plus the compression of the vena cava will increase the volume in the lower extremities. Now imagine a garden hose as your blood vessels. When you try to cover the outlet of the hose, the pressure inside would increase and could lead to damage. To avoid damaging your vessels, hydrostatic pressure will act accordingly. If there are a lot of fluids inside the blood vessel, hydrostatic will act and push the fluids and some electrolytes out of the blood vessel and into the interstitial space of the body. Edema will be obvious in the lower extremities because of the pull of gravity. This is the reason why some pregnant women have Edematous feet usually in the first or second trimester. If a pregnant woman still has edematous feet during her third trimester, the cause might be different. If there is also a facial edema or edema around the eye area it is best to consult the doctor. The edema might be due to increased blood pressure and it can be dangerous for the mother and baby. Blood pressure monitoring is essential to pinpoint if the Edema in the third trimester is pre-eclampsia or not.
This article serves to educate or give information. Do not mistake this as a doctor’s advice. If you feel anything bad, please seek medical assistance. Questions, clarifications, and suggestions about this article are welcomed.
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