If you’re a mum-to-be and feel like something is not right, you may have swollen lymph nodes. It’s normal during pregnancy to experience shifts in your body. It’s due to the changes happening inside you, so don’t worry if everything else seems okay.
But it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor to rule out any other causes for those swollen nodes. Here are some things to remember about swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy.
What are swollen lymph nodes
Lymph nodes are small nodules of tissue that are part of your immune system. They trap bacteria and other foreign matter in the blood and lymph systems and then destroy them.
They have a spongy texture due to the small vessels in their core. Swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy (or “swollen glands,” its more popular name) usually occur in women in the 3rd trimester. But may also occur in those who have been pregnant before the 3rd month.
These swollen lymph nodes may disappear after delivery. But others don’t go away or may even become larger.
Image source: iStock
Causes of swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy
One of the less fun aspects of pregnancy can be swollen lymph nodes. Many pregnant women experience this condition at some point during their pregnancy, which can be pretty uncomfortable.
The good news is that swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy are usually nothing to worry about. This will resolve on their own after the baby is born. But, there are a few things that can cause them.
One common cause is an infection, such as a cold or the flu. Pregnant women are also more susceptible to developing infections due to their weakened immune systems.
Another possible cause of swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy is hormonal changes. As the body produces more progesterone to support the growing foetus, it can also lead to fluid retention. This can cause the lymph nodes to swell.
In most cases, the swelling is due to benign processes and goes away on its own after the baby’s delivery. But, pregnant women need to be aware of more serious causes of swollen lymph nodes, such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Immune system diseases (like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
- Cancer (Lymphoma or Leukaemia)
So if you experience persistent swelling or pain, be sure to contact your healthcare provider.
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Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy
Here are the most common symptoms that you have swollen nodes:
Tenderness or pain in your lymph nodes
If you’re feeling pain or tenderness in your lymph nodes, it could be a sign that they’re swollen. This is often the case during pregnancy. When the lymph nodes can become enlarged due to the increased amount of fluid in the body.
In some cases, the lymph nodes may also feel hard or rubbery to the touch.
Kidney bean-shaped size (Or larger) Lymph nodes
Swollen lymph nodes can range in size from that of a kidney bean to possibly more significant. The swelling is caused by an increase in the number of lymphocytes. It’s a type of white blood cell that helps fight infection.
Swollen lymph nodes usually state something’s going on with your body. Most often, an infection. Pregnancy or certain medications may also cause it. If you have swollen lymph nodes, you might also have other symptoms, depending on the underlying cause.
For example, you might also have a fever or body aches if you have an infection. You might also have morning sickness or fatigue if your lymph nodes are swollen due to pregnancy.
In any case, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor if you’re experiencing swollen lymph nodes. So they can determine the cause and help you find relief.
Swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy: Underarm
Many women experience swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy, especially in the underarm. While these armpit lumps can be uncomfortable, they are usually harmless and go away after delivery.
But, if you experience any pain, redness, or discharge from the lumps, you should see your doctor to make sure they are not infected. Infected lymph nodes can be very serious during pregnancy. So it is important to get prompt medical treatment if you think you may have an infection.
When to seek medical help if you have swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, swollen lymph nodes are usually nothing to worry about. They’re common during pregnancy and usually go away after you give birth. But, there are a few times when you should seek medical help if you have swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy:
- If the nodes are sore or painful. This could be a sign of infection.
- If fever or other flu-like symptoms go with the nodes. This could be a sign of infection or illness.
- If the nodes are large or growing. This could be a sign of cancer.
- If the nodes are in the neck or groin area. This could be a sign of pregnancy-related lymphedema.
If you have any concerns about swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy, please talk to your doctor. They will be able to help you determine if there is cause for concern or if the swollen lymph nodes are nothing to worry about.
Common treatments for swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy
Swollen lymph nodes are a common pregnancy symptom in the second trimester. While they can be uncomfortable, lymph nodes typically return to normal after pregnancy. There are a few things you can do to help reduce swelling, including:
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to reduce friction and pressure on the area.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid standing for long periods.
- Elevate your legs when resting.
- Apply a cold compress to the affected area for 10-15 minutes.
- Gentle massage to stimulate circulation and promote drainage of lymph nodes.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
If your symptoms are severe or last for more than a week, talk to your doctor. They may prescribe medication or recommend other treatments. Swollen lymph nodes can also be a sign of other medical conditions. So it’s essential to get checked out if you’re concerned.
Image source: iStock
Ways to prevent swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy
Swollen lymph nodes can be a common occurrence during pregnancy. This happens especially in the third trimester. An increase in the amount of fluid in the body causes this. And it can be uncomfortable.
There are a few things that you can do to help prevent swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. This will help to flush out the system and reduce the amount of fluid retention.
- Avoid standing for long periods. If you must stand, try to do so with your feet elevated.
- Get regular exercise. This will help to reduce the amount of fluid in your body.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing. Constricting clothing can make swelling worse.
If you notice that your lymph nodes are swollen, it is important to contact your doctor. While most cases are not severe, swollen lymph nodes can signify a more serious problem.
May this article as a resource for understanding your lymph nodes during pregnancy. With everything that goes into preparing for a new baby, it can be stressful to have swollen lymph nodes. This article might provide peace of mind and help you understand what is happening with your body during this exciting time!
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