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In order to meet the needs of the developing baby during pregnancy, the body produces approximately 50% more body fluids and blood which causes swelling mainly in the hands, face, legs, ankles and feet. This is called oedema or water retention.
This extra retention of fluid helps the body to soften, which allows it to expand as the baby develops. The extra fluids account for approximately 25% of the weight gain during pregnancy. Unfortunately, around 50 to 80% of healthy pregnant women have oedema, mostly from the third trimester onward till end of pregnancy.
However, if you have sudden or severe swelling in your face, hands or feet consult your doctor immediately, as it could be pre-eclampsia.
Precautions to take
Does water retention risk the health of baby?
No, presence of oedema/water retention does not affect the health of baby.
Is water retention present after delivery?
After delivery, your hormones return to normal. The swelling in hands/ feet reduces as you pass urine & flush the water out of the body.