Swollen Lymph Nodes in Pregnancy

Swollen Lymph Nodes in Pregnancy

Lymph nodes are tiny, bean-shaped clusters that are a part of the lymphatic system. Lymph nodes are the most important component of the immune system. They play an important role in the immune response of the body by filtering the lymphatic fluid and trapping the infectious particles and serving as the barriers of the body. Since pregnancy is a delicate phase, one must go for treatment as soon as symptoms are visible.

What Are Swollen Lymph Nodes?

During pregnancy, as the body transits through hormonal and physical changes, the lymph nodes swell up indicating that the body is fighting off specific infections. Lymph nodes are placed around the throat, under the jaw, under the arms, in the groin, behind the ears, and at the base of the skull. And swollen glands in pregnancy are a common thing to happen.

What Causes Swollen Lymph Nodes in Pregnancy?

Sometimes the swelling may occur under the arm due to milk production in the breasts or in the neck region due to infection in the upper respiratory system in pregnancy. It can also be caused due to parasites found in soil and cat litter or due to uncooked meat containing parasites. Enlargement of the gland is sometimes gradual or rapid. The other reasons responsible for it are common infections, immune system disorders, cancer, etc.

Symptoms of Swollen Lymph Nodes during Pregnancy

Exposure to bacteria or virus can cause swollen lymph nodes. The signs include a runny nose, fever, sore throat, etc. Fixed and hard rapidly growing node indicate a tumour. Swollen lymph nodes pregnancy symptoms indicate an infection or immune disorder. Sometimes night sweats are also a sign of swollen lymph nodes.

A woman with a sore throat during pregnancy

How to Test Swollen Lymph Nodes during Pregnancy

At the time of pregnancy, a diagnosis by a doctor can reveal the real cause of swelling in the lymph nodes. The doctor will ask for the medical history after which he will conduct a physical exam. When the doctor suspects the cause, blood test reports are required to confirm or eliminate the suspected cause. If required, an x-ray or CT scan of the affected area is suggested to determine the potential source of infection or finding tumours. A microscopic examination of a sample from lymph is done to diagnose the cause in the biopsy report.

How to Treat Swollen Lymph Nodes while Pregnant

Swelling due to infection resolves to normal after the fever returns to normal. Swelling caused due to bacterial infection requires antibiotics. Specific treatment is given to HIV infected persons. Surgery, radiation or chemotherapy is suggested for patients diagnosed with cancer. Apart from these, if the swollen lymph nodes are painful, a warm compress in the affected area provides relief. An over-the-counter pain reliever can provide instant relief from pain. Adequate rest is also required to recover speedily. Pregnant ladies need great care due to the growing embryo within.

How to Prevent Swollen Lymph Nodes in Pregnancy

Practising good health habits and avoiding risky sexual behaviour may help prevent swollen lymph nodes. Pregnant ladies should avoid contact with people who are sick. Expectant mothers should follow a healthy diet which is low in saturated fat. You should also include whole grain, vegetables, and fruits.

When to Consult a Doctor

If ever you notice swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy, you must visit the doctor. If the swelling is associated with fever, weight loss or night sweats, it will require a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional. If the problem persists see a doctor immediately. If you have swollen lymph nodes which aren’t related to cold or flu and last for more than a week then seek a health care professional soon.

Women can develop many symptoms during pregnancy, but swollen glands are not a typical, normal occurrence during pregnancy. Swollen glands represent enlarged lymph nodes which should not be ignored. They enlarge when immune cells fight an infection in the body. It is always safe to consult an OBGYN to regain peace of mind during pregnancy.

Also Read: Vaginal Infections during Pregnancy