Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD):

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD):

How to relieve swollen and heavy legs during pregnancy!

Pregnancy is a beautiful experience but there are many changes to your body that could make you feel uncomfortable and not allow you to enjoy your pregnancy as you would like to. There are many treatments specialised in helping mothers reduce discomfort during pregnancy such as swollen and tired legs, back pain, cramps, incontinency and more.

Lymphatic drainage for Pregnancy

 What kind of discomforts might I have during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, there are many hormonal changes including increased levels of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin); this is a protein-based hormone, it tells a woman’s body that it’s pregnant. HCG helps maintain the production of important hormones like progesterone, estrogen and prolactin which are essential for the development of the embryo and fetus. However high levels of hormones may cause different physical changes and discomfort, some of them are:

  • changes in vascular permeability
  • peripheral edema
  • varicose veins may appear
  • sensation of heaviness
  • cramps
  • swollen limbs

Why do I have swollen legs?

Your uterus is full of fluid and the weight of the baby pushes downwards into the pelvis and compresses nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels; all this together limits the amount of lymphatic fluid that can return to the blood. Also, water and sodium retention are other factors that produce inflammation in your limbs.

What can I do to reduce Swollen legs?

Studies made in Sao Paulo (Brazil), have shown that having manual lymphatic drainage after third-month pregnancy helps to reduce some of your physical complaints. 

Manual lymphatic drainage also helps to boost your immune system, keeping away viruses from your baby. It significantly reduces oedema, water retention and swelling in your limbs. It drains excess fluid of the area, making you feel less heavy and tired, and giving you more comfort.

Other common complaint during pregnancy

  • Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP):  It’s a pain in the front or back of your pelvis. The Pelvic girdle is a ring of bones around your body at the base of your spine. PGP is when the three joints move unevenly, which can lead to the pelvic girdle becoming less stable making you feel pain.
  • Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (PSD). Is also known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), it is also classified as PGP. This occurs due to much relaxation of the pelvic ligaments and an increase of the joint mobility during pregnancy. This pain can be mild or severe, disturbing or limiting your movement. 
  • Lower back pain,  is normally a result of your changing posture due to a shift in your centre of gravity due to your growing bump. The extra weight you are carrying causes a strain on your lower back muscles causing them to become stiff and sore.
  • Urinary incontinence and weak pelvic muscles; are caused by the weight of your baby pressing down on these muscles, which may result in urinary leakage especially when exercising. Having strong pelvic floor muscles will help minimise any leakage before and after your baby is born.

In conclusion

MLD is a comfortable, localised and safe treatment during pregnancy. Unlike some other forms of massage, we apply very light pressure combined with soft pumping movements in the direction of the lymph nodes. The treatment is focused on the areas of water retention such as legs and arms and hands and it helps you to reduce the excess of water retention and tire legs.

We also have special treatments such as physiotherapy and osteopathy for pregnancy. The treatments are designed to help you to reduce pain and discomfort during pregnancy, and speed up your recovery after the birth, through posture advice, exercising and individualised strengthening programmes. 

We hope this information is useful for you. If you have questions about Manual Lymphatic Drainage or any other of our treatments, please contact us. We are always happy to help.

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819918/#:~:text=Results.,the%20day%20of%20pregnant%20women.

 

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