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Lipedema
5 Minutes

Pregnancy with lipedema

Pregnancy is a phase in a woman’s life which is dominated by hormones that can drive an expectant mother nuts, an experience I went through during my pregnancy. Twice to be precise.

Emotional roller coasters, food cravings, nausea, heartburn, nest-building urges and the well-known weak bladder are states of mind that many expectant mothers can certainly identify with. Oh, and not to forget the pleasure of rapid weight gain and annoying swelling of my legs.

While many mothers may relate to these symptoms most know, or at a minimum, assume they vanish over time once they gave birth. Yet, for some mothers-to-be this is not the case – for them, it is the manifestation of a medical condition called lipedema.

When I was pregnant, I inhaled pretty much any piece of information I found online around pregnancies. The answers satisfied my appetite for information, but well, let me be honest since it might be you, another expectant mother who is looking for information – it only satisfied my need for information shortly, soon my hunger for more succeeded and I again began surfing the net. Why? Well, I was really insecure, and I mean like really insecure.

While my daughters grew under my heart, or better said, bounced against my ribs, I was able to expand my knowledge enormously about pregnancies enormously! Not all of this ever came as handy as hoped of course.

Yet, here comes my insight I wanted to share with you today – Even now, I don’t recall having come across any pieces of information about pregnant women suffering from lipedema, while all other topics seemed to be excessively exploited. Why that?

Lipedema diagnosis during pregnancy

“Why wasn’t I seeing my doctor more regularly for a general check-up before I got pregnant?” A thought that crossed my mind way too often during my pregnancies. Well, I hope you don’t think that way because better safe than sorry, right?

In particular if you have any doubts that something isn’t going the right way, please go see you doc. Research has shown that lipedema can be caused due to the hormonal roller-coaster during pregnancy, even if you haven’t even known or suffered from it before.

Medical treatments during pregnancy for lipedema

Each situation is unique – so please follow the instructions and recommendations your doctor gives you. Your doctor will know what is best for you and the baby and will accompany you during the pregnancy.

One of the measure your doctor might recommend or even prescribe to you is deep manual lymphatic drainage, which can help to relax your deeper tissue and water retentions. Your physio therapist will ask you whether you are pregnant, this is important because no massage will be performed around the abdominal and pelvic areas.

By the way, there are also compression garments that are specifically made for expectant mothers. Make sure extra care is taken not to constrict the abdominal area and have your trusted medical supply store, your doctor or your physio therapist to adjust the compression in the most beneficial way for your body.

Eating for two – Just a myth

“You’re pregnant, you have to eat for two from now on”

I have come across those comments plenty of times, and am sure, so did you.

Today, however, everyone knows that this is an outdated belief, of course, during pregnancy you need a slightly increased calorie intake than before but not double the amount you have eaten prior being pregnant. Again, make sure you are well taken care off by your doctor, she will track your’s and your baby’s weight.

In particular when suffering from lipedema, there is certain food that isn’t doing you good, so make sure to avoid the following as much as possible (some cheat days are ok):

  • Overly salted dishes
  • Dishes and baked goods with fat such as margarine and sunflower oil
  • Too much meat: sausage, steak, uncooked animal products
  • Lactose: cheese, pudding, etc.
  • Industrially processed food
  • Wheat
  • Alcohol
  • Raw milk and cheese may contain listeria, but hard cheeses are safe because they are heavily dehydrated from the long aging process. Tuna and other predatory fish may have high levels of mercury. Toxoplasma pathogens may be present in raw meat. Wheat promotes inflammation in the body and can influence lipedema, and alcohol should generally be avoided during pregnancy until after breastfeeding.

 

The food that is good for you if you are diagnosed with lipedema:

  • Avocado and linseed oil as a source of fat
  • Seeds and nuts as a snack
  • Fish
  • Lots of vegetables

Tip: Frequent small meals help combat common nausea. An ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet is possible. If you are on a vegan diet, seek medical advice on what micronutrients to supplement. As always, drinking plenty of fluids is also good for you and your baby.

Liposuction – when is the right time?

It is recommended that liposuction should ideally be approached before you plan to have a baby, if possible.

 

Reasons why:

Pregnancies are expected to be less painful and lipedemia symptoms are less likely to erupt. There is a good likelihood that the sick fat cells that have already been removed may not reappear, even if hormonal fluctuations are severe. The smaller your fat layer during your pregnancy, the greater the likelihood that hormonal fluctuations will not trigger lipedema and its symptoms in such an extent as without liposuction.

Besides, the healing process can progress better.

Of course, you can also undergo liposuction after pregnancy without any problems. One precondition is that you await the skin recovery after pregnancy.
Give yourself the time you need, because both your mind and your body need time to recover from months of intense changes.

Conclusion and final words

At the end of the day, pretty much every pregnancy carries certain risk factors.

I have learned through my pregnancies to listen and pay special attention to my body and its needs.

And, to be honest, pregnancy was a real love-hate relationship for me. A constant up and down of emotions – the hormone party of the year. This constant impatience also drove me crazy in the meantime. Nine whole months, just a little less than a year.

Nevertheless, I would absolutely not want to miss the experience and am very grateful that I had the privilege of bringing two healthy children into the world. My two C-sections were magical experiences and still move me today.

It was of great importance to me to research and to speak about this special topic, that is being pregnant and being diagnosed with lipedema. What our body can do and achieve is always a wonderful mystery to me. But sometimes we are exposed to challenges that make us forget this train of thought.

Just the idea that the short-lived aches and pains of my pregnancy are everyday challenges and pains for some of you, puts me in the deepest sympathy and greatest respect for you.


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