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Am Fam Physician. 2006;73(8):1444-1446

Clinical Question: Does immersion exercise reduce dependent edema in pregnant women?

Setting: Outpatient (specialty)

Study Design: Cohort (prospective)

Synopsis: Dependent edema is common in pregnancy. In this study, nine women with marked edema and otherwise uncomplicated pregnancies participated in a 45-minute exercise session while immersed in water. Lower leg volumes were measured before and after the session, including the foot and 4 in (10 cm) of the lower leg. Mean volume decreased by 112 mL on the left leg and 84 mL on the right leg (P = .007). The women also had a subjective impression of reduction in edema. The authors did not report the duration of the effect or other patient-oriented outcomes.

Bottom Line: Water immersion exercise is an option for managing leg edema in otherwise uncomplicated pregnancies. (Level of Evidence: 2b)

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by Essential Evidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP, search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, editor-in-chief.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.

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Copyright © 2006 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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