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Important information about pregnancy with lipoedema and lymphoedema
During pregnancy, the female hormonal balance changes to prepare the body for birth and to provide the best possible care for the unborn child. The hormone levels adjust, the amount of blood in the body increases and the veins can dilate. If pregnant women are unsure about lipoedema or lymphoedema, they should consult their doctor. They know the personal situation and medical history best and can provide professional support.
Is it hereditary or not?
The available scientific data on lipoedema is still very sparse. The extent to which, apart from possible inheritance of figure type, typical symptoms of the disease, such as the soft tissue pain in the legs or arms, are also hereditary, is currently unknown.
A large number of lymphoedema cases are acquired through external influences such as surgical procedures (secondary lymphoedema). Only congenital lymphoedema (primary lymphoedema), if any, has the potential to be inherited. However, the probability is negligible.1
Effects of pregnancy on lipoedema and lymphoedema
Pregnancy and related changes can increase the symptoms of lymphoedema or lipoedema:
Lipoedema: Pain and heaviness in the legs are typical symptoms when the disease is present. These symptoms may improve or worsen, but there is still not enough scientific evidence to make definitive statements. Note: Heavy legs associated with pain can occur in all pregnant women – regardless of whether they have lipoedema or lymphoedema. This may make existing symptoms of lipoedema more intensely noticeable. More about lipoedema
Lymphoedema: This is a protein-rich accumulation of fluid in the tissues, which is usually not accompanied by pain. Symptoms can worsen during pregnancy. It is therefore essential to adopt adapted therapy measures and to maintain contact with your doctor, therapist and midwife. All about lymphoedema
Lipoedema and lymphoedema patients should see their gynaecologist and other specialists, for example a lymphologist, regularly, not only during pregnancy but also after the birth. The doctor can diagnose the condition and initiate therapy – if necessary with medical compression stockings from medi. These are supplied by trained specialist staff in specialist medical stores.
What appropriate treatment looks like
Lipoedema and lymphoedema are chronic diseases that require continuous therapy. Therapy can improve complaints and counteract a worsening of symptoms. Therapy must therefore be continued throughout pregnancy in consultation with the doctors and physiotherapists involved. Complete decongestive therapy (CDT) has proven beneficial during pregnancy. The health of mother and child is of utmost priority. Therefore, therapeutic measures are adapted through the course of the pregnancy.
Lymph drainage: Improvement through gentle manipulation techniques
This type of medical massage is usually performed by physiotherapists with special training. Gentle manipulation techniques activate the lymphatic flow, decongesting the tissues. However, deep lymphatic drainage in the pelvic and abdominal areas should be avoided, especially in early pregnancy. Lipoedema and lymphoedema treatment during pregnancy should always be carried out in consultation with your doctor.
Continue medical compression therapy during pregnancy
During pregnancy, wearing medical compression stockings every day is even more important for patients with lipoedema or lymphoedema. This can relieve discomfort and prevent the symptoms and oedema from worsening.
medi offers an extensive product range of medical compression stockings and compressive tights with elastic and comfortable waistbands especially for pregnant women.
Tips for a comfortable pregnancy
A healthy and balanced diet benefits both mother and child. Pregnant women should try to put on only a moderate amount of weight during pregnancy. This is because being overweight can increase symptoms such as pain, heaviness or swelling in lipoedema and lymphoedema.
Free download: Helpful nutrition tips to deal with lipoedema or lymphoedema: Nutrition tips for lipoedema and lymphoedema
Movement can also reduce complaints. Pregnant women with lipoedema and lymphoedema should seek medical advice. These are some recommended sports:
- Pregnancy yoga
- Water aerobics
A patient talks about her pregnancy with lipo-lymphoedema and encourages others.
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1 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Lymphologie: Lymphödem. URL: https//www.dglymph.de/medizin-informationenstudien/oedemkrankheiten/lymphoedem/ (09.09.2020)