Gestational lower limb edema and venous reflux in healthy primigravidae

Int Angiol. 2017 Dec;36(6):569-573. doi: 10.23736/S0392-9590.17.03865-2. Epub 2017 Sep 11.


Background: Analyze the association of lower limb edema with venous reflux in healthy primigravidae during pregnancy and in the postpartum.

Methods: Cohort with primigravidae evaluated in the three trimesters of pregnancy and postpartum. Edema was assessed by physical examination. Duplex evaluated venous reflux in both limbs.

Results: In the first trimester, no woman presented edema or venous reflux. In the second trimester, venous reflux was found in one patient (5%) and edema was found in four women (20%). Venous reflux and edema were not associated (P=1). In the third trimester, two other patients developed venous reflux (15%) and eleven women developed lower limb edema (55%). Venous reflux and edema were also not associated (P=0.21). In the postpartum period, neither venous reflux nor lower limb edema were found.

Conclusions: In healthy primigravidae, lower limb edema was not associated with venous reflux. Both were present in the second and in the third trimesters of pregnancy and resolved spontaneously in the postpartum period. Both are products of the same physiological changes that occur in pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Edema / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / blood supply*
  • Parity
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex
  • Venous Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging*