The Vital Role Lymph Plays in Pregnancy

…and how we can help!


Puffy and swollen hands and feet. Restless and uncomfortable sleep. Stress and nervous tension. Hormonal imbalances. All of these are normal symptoms of pregnancy. BUT – Just because it’s normal – does not mean you have to put up with in!

In this blog we explore the lymphatic system and the vital role it plays in pregnancy and how our experienced team can help you feel radiant during your pregnancy!


What is the Lymphatic System and What does it do?

A network of delicate tubes and nodes throughout the body, the role of the lymphatic system is to drain fluid (called lymph) that is leaked from blood vessels and return it to the blood stream.

The lymphatic system plays a role in several bodily function including managing fluid levels in the body, reacting to bacteria, dealing with cell products that would result in disease or disorder (including cancer cells) and absorbing some fats in our diet from the intestine.

The lymphatic system maintains the fluid levels in our body tissues by removing fluid that is leaked from our blood vessels. Optimal functioning is vital to ensure that our immune system and other bodily functions are working well.

When the lymphatic system is compromised, fluids cannot drain and the tissues swell, becoming puffy and uncomfortable.


What happens to the lymph system during pregnancy?

During pregnancy fluid retention and swelling is common. This can be the result of hormonal changes impacting the veins, reducing blood circulation and causing blood to stagnate in the lower limbs. The growing womb also places pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvis, slowing blood circulation and causing water retention in the lower limbs. This is why it is common to experience swelling in the legs and feet during the later stages of pregnancy.


How does a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage work?

The first ting to keep in mind is that Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is not the same as a remedial pregnancy massage. A remedial pregnancy massage will focus on soft tissues such as muscles, tendons and ligaments and helping these structures to soften and relax. An MLD massage focuses on the lymph and encourages this fluid to flow around the body. A remedial pregnancy massage may sometimes require deeper (but not necessarily firmer) pressure to ease the tension in soft tissues, while an MLD treatment requires light pressure on the surface structures of the skin to have a lasting effect.

While very different in their techniques and approach, both remedial pregnancy massage and MLD can be used in combination to support the changes that occur in the body due to pregnancy. So, its not a question of either/or but rather combining both types of treatment throughout the pregnancy to achieve exceptional health.


Is Manual Lymphatic Drainage effective?

The short answer is Yes! MLD is effective in reducing swelling in the legs that is caused by fluid retention or pressure from the growing uterus. A study by Oportus et al 2013 found that lymph drainage for women in the second and third trimester reduced swelling in the legs.

And that’s not all! Not only can MLD be effective in treating Swollen legs or arms due to fluid retention, it can also assist in alleviating carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, diabetes, depression & anxiety and hormonal & emotional imbalances.


What’s The Next Step?

We have an experienced and specialised team, dedicated to empowering women to achieve exceptional health during pregnancy, into motherhood and beyond.

To find out more about how Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage can support you during your pregnancy here or call us on 0407 512 009.

To book your next Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage click here.




Oportus et al 2013, ‘Lymph Drainage in Pregnant Women’, Nursing Research and Practice, Volume 2013