brand logo

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 Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see

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

This series is coordinated by Natasha J. Pyzocha, DO, contributing editor.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at

Continue Reading

More in AFP

Copyright © 2006 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See permissions for copyright questions and/or permission requests.