The arrival of the long-awaited baby displaces some problems from a woman’s life, but adds many new ones. Among them is the appearance of leg swelling after childbirth. This unpleasant phenomenon may become reality due to various reasons, which may be related both to temporary metabolic disorders and serious pathologies.
The task of a woman who cares about her health and wants to quickly get yourself into prenatal shape – as soon as possible to identify the causes, find ways to eliminate them, and as quickly as possible (as soon as possible after childbirth) to begin to correct the situation. The best way out, of course, will be a consultation with a doctor who, based on the symptoms, will be able to identify the “culprit”, to make recommendations and, if necessary, prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Causes of leg swelling after childbirth
One of the causes of swelling – excessive consumption of sweets, salt, spicy, fried and high physical load on the legs. The uncontrolled consumption of fluids due to a feeling of thirst is another reason for the swelling of the legs. It can be eliminated by drinking enough fluids, not allowing the body to accumulate a reserve of water, but not excessively, for the same reason.
The last thing to worry about is if postpartum leg swelling is due to internal organ displacement during pregnancy. In the late term, the blood flow is hampered because the uterus increases significantly and begins to press on the adjacent organs, becoming the cause of swelling of the lower body, but soon after delivery go away. If the swelling of the legs after childbirth do not go away for a long time, you should consult a doctor to identify possible pathologies, among them – diseases of the cardiovascular system and other diseases.
Serious causes that can be attributed to leg swelling after childbirth include kidney disorders, varicose veins or postpartum gestosis. The kidneys are not able to return to normal quickly after the end of pregnancy, which entails. slow fluid elimination in the first period after childbirth. If a woman has chronic diseases of the urogenital system, this may aggravate the situation.
Only a visit to the doctor and tests can exclude this option. Circulatory disorders in the extremities, known as varicose veins, are caused by fetal pressure during pregnancy on the pelvic vessels, leading to various pathologies. Swelling of the legs after childbirth can also cause gestosis – a complication of pregnancy, the first manifestations of which are observed in the second-third trimester. In a mild form passes literally on the second day after delivery, in a severe form – requires only medical attention.
Usually leg swelling after childbirth manifests itself at the end of the day and cannot help but cause concern to the young mother. Especially if she has never experienced anything like this before. It is not at all difficult to detect the appearance of swelling of the lower extremities after childbirth. Their main symptom is an increase in the circumference of the legs. With the help of a tape measure you can control the appearance of edema by measuring the circumference of the ankles regularly. The presence of leg edema is indicated by its increase already by 1 cm.
If you press on the foot in the area of the anterior surface of the shin with your finger, there is a dimple that does not smooth out within a few minutes. Swelling makes it difficult to put on shoes, there are traces of rubber socks on the feet. The presence of edema of the legs after childbirth is also confirmed if the amount of liquid consumed during the day, including water in the first meal and drinks, significantly exceeds the amount of excreted urine.
First aid for swollen feet
Deciding what to do with edema of the legs after childbirth at first and without going to the doctor, you can use the practical advice of specialists and those women who have already faced a similar problem and successfully coped with it. Women can reduce swelling and unpleasant symptoms at home with the help of:
- Rubbing the skin of the legs with a massage brush or rough loofah, massage of the lower extremities, toning vessels, improving blood flow in them, promoting the withdrawal of excess fluid from the tissues (in the absence of varicose veins).
- Breastfeeding increases the level of oxytocin in the female body, which has, among other beneficial effects, a vasoconstrictor effect. This improves the outflow of venous blood, tones the blood vessels of the lower limbs, and as a consequence, leg swelling after childbirth.
- Contrast baths for the feet and rubbing ice cubes on the shins and feet.
General recommendations for getting rid of edema
In addition to emergency measures to relieve swelling, there are general recommendations on how to remove leg swelling after childbirth. They contain tips:
- Optimize your diet by switching to a proper diet with the necessary amount of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Unhealthy products that cause fluid retention in the body and disrupt metabolism must be excluded. Fluid and salt intake, especially in the evening, should be reduced.
- Normalize the daily routine, avoid leg fatigue, try to walk less. Rest as much as possible in a semi-reclining or lying position, with the legs raised up. This improves the outflow of fluid from the tissues and vessels of the legs and reduces edema.
- It is useful to be adequately physically active, if there are no medical contraindications, such as breathing exercises, simple exercises, yoga, which also improve the outflow of lymph from the tissues and reduce leg edema after childbirth.
Gymnastics for legs with edema
Special exercises that doctors recommend to their patients after natural childbirth have a good effect. Especially effective exercises will be if you do them standing up. Standing flat on the floor you should do the leg raise in turns, stopping in this position for a few seconds. Barefoot walk on tiptoes, jump on your toes, roll your weight from toes to heels. Do body weight transfers from one foot to the other.
The second series of exercises is done sitting down. It can be done by women even after a caesarean section. It is necessary to alternate clockwise and then counterclockwise rotational movements made with bare feet. Lift your toes up as much as possible, and then bend them down as much as possible. Then spread your toes as much as possible, and then close them. Roll your feet from toe to heel and back, trying to lift a small object off the floor with your feet.
When to see a doctor
If swollen feet after childbirth are accompanied by other alarming symptoms – this is a serious reason to consult a doctor. Because in such a situation, there is every reason to believe that it is unlikely to cope with the problem on their own, and the painful manifestations indicate the presence of serious diseases that require treatment. For example, swollen legs after childbirth, burning and heaviness may be the underlying symptoms of varicose veins, when inelastic walls of blood vessels or weak vein valves provoke its development.
When the swelling of the lower extremities is accompanied by palpable pain in the lower abdomen, which, unfortunately, is often confused with general soreness after childbirth, an exacerbation of cystitis is likely to be present. Bladder inflammation can have serious consequences, so a conversation with your doctor and a few simple tests can help determine or rule out the cause of the swelling.
Medication treatment for leg swelling
In some, especially serious, and sometimes simply life-threatening cases you can’t do without the use of medications. Only a doctor can determine the necessity of their application. Since, if the cause of leg edema after childbirth is a severe form of gestosis, medications will be prescribed to stabilize the elevated blood pressure and protein levels.
In the case of edema caused by varicose veins, both tablets and ointments and gels for external application are used for treatment. Edema caused by cardiovascular disease or kidney disease is also treated exclusively under the supervision of a doctor, and medications are aimed at stabilizing blood pressure, preventing protein loss, removing excess sodium from the body. In any case, only a doctor makes a diagnosis and prescribes the appropriate treatment.
Folk medicine for edema
Along with all other means of combating leg swelling after childbirth, it is possible to apply and remedies of folk medicine. The diet of a nursing mother should include:
- healing teas from linden;
- Herbal teas with a diuretic effect;
- Tinctures of citrus zest;
- Melissa decoctions, which have both a diuretic and an excellent sedative effect.
These remedies can be used not only for ingestion, but also for foot baths.
For such baths you can use decoctions with succession, birch leaves, juniper, mint, succession and chamomile. Duration of the procedure – five minutes or slightly longer if desired. The water temperature should be slightly higher than body temperature +38 ° C. In baths instead of herbs you can use apple cider vinegar. You can replace the bath with a compress with grated raw potatoes, which is applied to the feet, covering with cellophane and cloth for 20 minutes and washed off with cool water.
Prevention of swollen feet after pregnancy
Treatment and prevention in the fight against leg edema after childbirth are interrelated things. Adherence to the principles of proper nutrition, control of fluid intake, moderate exercise and competent relaxation will exclude the occurrence of such a problem as swollen legs. Its own technique in the prevention of edema, which is caused by varicose veins. In this case, you can also add regular visits to the doctor, who will identify the disease at an early stage and prescribe treatment, as well as wearing compression underwear, tights.
General recommendations include the advice to lie and sleep on the left side, which reduces pressure on the vena cava of the internal organs, improving blood flow through it from the veins of the entire lower trunk and lower extremities to the heart.
Specialists advise not to put your leg over your leg while sitting. This position puts pressure on the blood vessels, exacerbating the condition. In addition, it is worth getting rid of bad habits, such as smoking.
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