edema and preeclampsia q's - Mothering Forums
I'm Pregnant > edema and preeclampsia q's
taffywelsh's Avatar taffywelsh 08:54 AM 08-10-2010

Is pitting edema somehow worse than "normal" edema? I didn't know I even had this until one of my students described it. Is is more indicative of preeclampsia?

And, can you have preeclampsia and still have low blood pressure? Mine was 110/60 last week at the midwives' office and 120/80 last night at the drugstore machine. So, these are not high. However, my heart rate is generally very high.

I am getting worried since I gained 10lbs in 2 weeks with no real difference in eating. I also saw some dancing stars and have seen that this could be a symptom.

Don't worry, I'm going to call the midwives. But I must admit they were totally unconcerned and sort of dismissive at my last appointment.

opinions plz

GoBecGo's Avatar GoBecGo 09:00 AM 08-10-2010
I don't know (great right!?) BUT i did have pitting edema in my lower legs for the last 6 weeks of my recent pregnancy and no high BP or PE at all. Talk to your MWs for sure, but don't panic yet

ETA i'm not a doctor, but i'm pretty sure pitting edema IS the "normal edema" - non-pitting is rare and harder to treat as far as i know (i know someone who had it).
kriket's Avatar kriket 12:30 PM 08-10-2010
I was under the impression that pitting was edema (idk) With DS, I had pitting all the way up my legs, my hands and arms and my face. (When I am on the other computer I will post pics, it was BAD) at 36w they told me to take it easy for fears of Pre-e at 36w1d I was in labour.

I would also be worried if you gained that much and haven't been really stuffing your face, and the baby isn't getting huge in there. I guess just make sure you drink lots of water, and take it easy! I think the heat doesn't help either.

I lost 30lb in the 2-3 weeks after labour, 7 was baby, like 3-5 for fluid, placenta etc, and I am confident the rest was swelling. It's noooo fun, take it easy for sure!
closedaccount15 12:41 PM 08-10-2010
Originally Posted by taffywelsh View Post
I am getting worried since I gained 10lbs in 2 weeks with no real difference in eating. I also saw some dancing stars and have seen that this could be a symptom.

Don't worry, I'm going to call the midwives. But I must admit they were totally unconcerned and sort of dismissive at my last appointment.

opinions plz
Well I gained 10 lbs in 2 weeks during my last pregnancy, even I was shocked because I thought I ate the same. It was around 7 months, because it was during Thanksgiving week and my OB assumed I ate too much, but I didn't because I don't really care for "thanksgiving" food. I really don't think I ate any differently.

My blood pressure is usually 110/60 or lower. I also get dancing stars - even when not pregnant. I also swelled a lot during my pregnancy, I had trouble bending my knees. I don't know why because it was the middle of winter, but it was so uncomfortable.

I don't know, but it's possible to have all those symptoms without preeclampsia because I didn't and had the same things you are having.
trimestersdoula's Avatar trimestersdoula 01:24 PM 08-10-2010
From what I have learned about the stars is that sometimes that can happen with a migrane headache....even if you don't get the headache. As for the pitting edema, if I swell, I pit. I DO have mild pre-e. My BP isn't high right now (I am on meds). My readings yesterday were 124/76 at the hospital and 135/90 at the clinic. The reading a couple days ago was 116/80. I have only had that one high reading yesterday in about a month, but I do have protien showing in my urine.
BlackSheepPDX's Avatar BlackSheepPDX 02:54 PM 08-10-2010
Edema refers to swelling in general. Pitting edema is the when pressure on the swollen area leaves dents that are slow to refill. Generally I think of pitting edema as related to older, more stagnant, or non-acute swelling, versus the type of swelling one has in an acute injury, where it is related to blood flow into the area. Pitting edema is going to be more related to poor lymphatic return, resulting in increased fluid pooling in the interstitial tissues.

So, no, pitting edema isn't "worse" it's just a little different.

As far as pre-e, your midwives should be looking at urine dips which will give them information about protein in the urine, which is a more definitive symptom. Increases in blood pressure are relative to your normal BP, so if you usually run on the low side (which it sounds like you do) you may have "high normal" readings that could be indicative of HIGH for YOU. That's what matters. A drug store BP reading is going to be pretty unreliable. There are a lot of little things that can affect the machine readings.

Finally, yes, you can certainly swell significantly without it being pre-e. The increased pressure in the pelvic floor can hinder venous/lymphatic return, and result in swelling in the lower body, which is pretty common in pregnancy. Elevating the feet and wiggling your toes/feet/lower legs will help pump the the fluids back out, as well as having someone gently milk the fluid upward toward the hips. Lymphatic return is a passive system and requires muscle pressure and gravity to get it out, while it gets IN with the pressure of the active blood circulation.

Most large weight gain in a short period of time is going to be due to fluid retention and not fat gain. You'd have to be eating THOUSANDS of extra calories EACH DAY to result in a 10 pound gain that was due to fat/caloric imbalance gain and not fluid.

Hope this helps. If you are concerned, continue to mention it to your midwives and ask them to explain why they are not concerned. They should have a good explanation, which should in turn relieve your concerns.
MaerynPearl's Avatar MaerynPearl 03:02 PM 08-10-2010
Your increased heart rate is part of pregnancy. Mine tends to be around 90-95bpm.
myk's Avatar myk 03:08 PM 08-10-2010
you already got a great explanation of pitting edema drug store machines aren't all that accurate, but if you're always using the same machine, it's helpful in the sense that you can track a difference in blood pressure. variation of blood pressure is normal, especially if it's hot out.

i normally have low blood pressure. 90/60 to 110/70 has always been "my" blood pressure, 120/80 only happened if i was exercising or if it was hot out. when i went pre-eclamptic with my first pg the nurses at the hospital were COMPLETELY dismissive, even though i knew my blood pressure was high *for me*. i ended up with 138/89 at the end of the day when i was 115/70 that morning. a jump in diastolic pressure (the second number) of more than 15 in a short period of time is clinically significant - not enough for a diagnosis per se, but enough to warrant further investigation (protein urine tests, bloodwork). the systolic (first number) is more variable, i'm not sure what the value is for a variation to become clinically significant.

hope this helps.
taffywelsh's Avatar taffywelsh 05:50 PM 08-10-2010
Thank you everyone esp. Black Sheep.
I went to the midwife, she did a urine sample: it was fine.
Also, my blood pressure was 120/80 for her but she said it had been that high during my pregnancy at previous points, so it is not a big deal.
Basically she told me to quit eating simple carbs as much as possible and try to lay on my left side an hour or two every day. Ok, no problem! Cutting out simple carbs was the first thing I did when I heard about all the weight gain!
I guess I am fine; now I feel sort of silly for all the fuss and bother. But, when you gain that much and your feet look this bad, and plus I didn't feel the baby for about 10 hours yesterday, what is one to do?
thanks again for all the help
trimestersdoula's Avatar trimestersdoula 06:36 PM 08-10-2010
Originally Posted by myk View Post
i'm not sure what the value is for a variation to become clinically significant.
A rise of 30mmHg in systolic is considered clinically significant, even if that rise doesn't take you over 140mmHg. Ex: Normal systolic is 90mmHg but rises to 120mmHg. Even though 120 considered perfectly normal and healthy, it isn't if there was a 30mmHg rise in YOUR normal BP.
myk's Avatar myk 05:42 PM 08-11-2010
thanks trimestersdoula! for the life of me i couldn't remember!
trimestersdoula's Avatar trimestersdoula 06:56 PM 08-11-2010
No problem myk
luckiest's Avatar luckiest 08:33 PM 08-11-2010
From what I understand, swelling can be from plenty of things (how baby is lying, dehydration, lack of exercise) and not in itself be indicative of any big problems. If you're not having other symptoms of pre-e I wouldn't worry, but I would probably up my protein intake (aim for 120g and hope to get 100g) and my water intake just in case.