Background: To quantify the effect of a single immersion exercise session on uncomplicated dependent edema in pregnancy.
Methods: Lower leg volume was measured by water displacement volumetry and limb circumference in nine women with marked dependent edema, but otherwise normal second or third trimester pregnancy, before and after upright water immersion exercise session (Aqua-Fit) for 45 min. Maternal heart rate was monitored continuously throughout the session. Blood pressure was measured before and after the session.
Results: Mean left leg volume decreased by 112 ml from 1665 to 1553 ml, and right leg volume by 84 ml from 1665 to 1581 ml (P = 0.007). Cardiovascular parameters fluctuated within the normal range, well below the upper limits recommended in pregnancy.
Conclusions: A single immersion exercise session is a safe, effective, and enjoyable complement, or alternative, to compression stockings for reduction of gestational dependent edema. Further study is required to determine its duration of effect and the optimum interval between sessions.