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Mommy Wellness: Pitting Edema


The late stages of pregnancy are equally exciting and nerve-wrecking. Aside from the panic many women feel when thinking of their actual delivery, there are several conditions women must keep an eye out for during this crucial time. While a certain amount of swelling — especially in the ankle and foot area — are normal pregnancy side effects, excess swelling can lead to a more serious condition known as pitting edema.

According to A.D.A.M.:

Pitting edema occurs when fluid collects in the tissue. By pressing a thumb or finger firmly against the tissue for a few seconds, a dent can be produced. When the finger is withdrawn, the dent may persist for several minutes.

Usually occurring in the hands, feet, face and ankle area, pitting edema is of great concern to doctors and midwives, as it has proven to be an early sign of pre-eclampsia, the hypertension condition that occurs in pregnancy. When patients are found to have pitting edema, doctors usually next test the urine for protein, and if the test is found to be positive, a normal pre-eclampsia course of direction is taken, including bed rest and close monitoring of weight gain and urine.

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