Dealing With Swollen Hands and Feet

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I need your advise, Please? I am currently 25 weeks into my pregnancy with my second child. I am experiencing alot of swelling in my feet and hands. My right hand and fingers are numb at times as well as at times, it hurts for me to walk on my feet. My doctor tells me to put up my feet, drink plenty of fluids, but it seems like it is not helping. At night when I try to sleep, I can't lay on my back, it is hard for me to breathe and if I lay on either of my sides, my arms go numb.

Any suggestions of what I should do?

ANSWER

You might try increasing your protein and your exercise when you can. If the weather is hot, measure your water and try drinking a gallon each day. My other "cure" is old fashioned Epsom salts -- soak your feet for sure, as many times/day as you can, or take a whole bath in it -- it's cheap!

When you put your feet up, make sure they are higher than your heart; lying on a couch with your feet up on the arm works. It also helps to get your hands higher than your heart and for some, to wear a carpal tunnel brace. I'm sorry you're having so much trouble. The only consolation is that these things are annoying, but generally not dangerous in and of themselves. I hope you feel better soon.

-- Cynthia, CNM

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.