During pregnancy, edema is normal and expected especially nearing term because as the fetus grows, the mother requires more water and nutrients. The growing baby can also compress the lveins in the lower body. Fluid tend to build up because of hormones that cause sodium and water retention. Additionally, most pregnant women are sedentary and prolonged sitting or bedrest can cause pooling of fluid in the lower limbs.
Fortunately, edema alone is not a major cause of concern. Without any symptoms and if is only apparent at the ankles, you may just observe. However, there are many diseases that can cause edema. Some examples include chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and liver cirrhosis. Additionally, certain medications can also cause edema as a side effect.
Preeclampsia is another condition that can present with swelling or edema. Signs include facial edema, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, migraines, rapid weight-gain, and spike in blood pressure. Preeclampsia is mainly a concern during pregnancy, but postpartum preeclampsia is a rare occurrence that typically happens within 48 hours after giving birth. Both types of preeclampsia are medical emergencies that need immediate treatment to prevent seizures and other complications.