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Pregnancy in cases of lipo-lymphedema Creating trust by caring

Issue 03/2021

At Hagenauer Orthopädietechnik medical supply retailer in Plankstadt, Germany, Diana Hagenauer provides pregnant patients suffering from lipo-lymphedema with flat-knit compression products. In addition to an in-depth consultation, regular checks of the fit are required to avoid that customers feel constrained, despite their growing circumference.

“The medical supply retailer was my first port of call for all questions relating to compression during my pregnancy,” says Kathi Schanz. The 30-year-old has lipedema with secondary lymphedema (lipo-lymphedema), stage 2–3 in both arms and legs. Manual lymphatic drainage and VenoTrain curaflow compression garments provide her with relief. Until the condition was diagnosed, she had been struggling with pain, tingling and increasing hematomas in her extremities for many years. It was only after her second pregnancy that she received the definitive diagnosis, and she was then able to rely on the expertise of Hagenauer Orthopädietechnik medical supply retailer in Plankstadt during her third pregnancy. Being able to empathize, Managing Director Diana Hagenauer has many years of experience with lipo-lymphedema customers, who she also cares for during their pregnancy. “Many customers are worried about the effects pregnancy can have on their symptoms,” she reports. There has been no definitive proof of the extent to which pregnancy hormones impact the abnormal distribution of fat in cases of lipedema, but the condition often worsens in this situation. The committed expert advisor takes her time and addresses fears and questions in great detail. She recommends wearing compression garments during pregnancy in particular in order to counteract swelling and relieve the lymphatic and venous system.

Closely checking the circumference

Diana Hagenauer checked the perfect fit of the compression product during and after pregnancy.
Diana Hagenauer checked the perfect fit of the compression product during and after pregnancy.

“In patients with lipo-lymphedema, we achieve the best results with lymphological flat-knit compression garments.” They exert a consistent pressure on the affected areas, massage the tissue and improve lymphatic drainage. Above all, this alleviates the symptoms and can minimize the progression of the lipo-lymphedema.

“First, I measure each customer with the Bodytronic 600, thus generating reliable skin dimensions, and then I carry out a volume measurement as a basis for comparison for subsequent products.” If the health insurance provider has approved the submitted quote, the lymph expert will then take the relevant circumferences (using a slightly tightened tape measure) and also the length measurements during the next appointment. These form the basis on which the compression product will be made. What requires special attention? “The baby bump, of course,” says Diana Hagenauer. “Its circumference changes quickly. meaning I will closely monitor the product, i.e. approximately every month, from the sixth month of pregnancy at the latest.” She checks that there is no constriction or rubbing.

“In patients with lipo-lymphedema, we achieve the best results with lymphological flat-knit compression garments.”
Diana Hagenauer

A positive wearing sensation

The extra-wide expansion zone in the abdominal area of the pantyhose adapts to the growing circumference, but the three sizes of pantyhose top also provide enough options for adjusting the product to the needs of the pregnant women. That was one of the reasons why the VenoTrain curaflow maternity pantyhose was the right choice for Kathi Schanz. And she is not the only one who is thrilled by the wearing sensation. “It is important to my pregnant customers that their compression garments feel comfortable. That’s why I recommend VenoTrain curaflow. The material is breathable, soft and comfortable, and provides consistent pressure without affecting mobility. And a positive wearing sensation makes sure that customers continuously wear their compression products,” Diana Hagenauer explains. “I always recommend the compression stockings be put on in the morning while lying in bed to ensure donning also works in later stages of pregnancy. That’s where the required contortions can be performed most easily.” Additionally, gloves with a rubberized palm or donning aids help with putting on the products.

“Compared with my previous two pregnancies, I’ve had the unpleasant feeling of my arms and legs going to sleep less often, and the tenderness was noticeably reduced,” says Kathi Schanz.
“Compared with my previous two pregnancies, I’ve had the unpleasant feeling of my arms and legs going to sleep less often, and the tenderness was noticeably reduced,” says Kathi Schanz.

“No unnecessary constriction”

Since being diagnosed with lipo-lymphedema, Kathi Schanz attaches great value to her self-management. This also applies during pregnancy, of course. She has manual lymphatic drainage, makes sure she eats a diet low in carbohydrates, wears her compression garments during the day, uses manual leg and arm cuffs with intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) and incorporates exercise into her daily life. “We encourage our customers to get regular exercise during pregnancy as well,” Diana Hagenauer emphasizes, “it’s therefore all the more important that the compression products don’t constrict unnecessarily.”

Kathi Schanz is relieved when looking back at her third pregnancy: “Thanks to all the measures, I’ve gained significantly less weight compared with my two previous pregnancies. I’ve had the unpleasant feeling of my arms and legs going to sleep less often, and the tenderness was noticeably reduced.” This is the kind of positive experience Diana Hagenauer wishes for all her pregnant customers suffering from lipo-lymphedema. “The extent to which symptoms worsen is hard to tell. But my goal is to counteract them right from the beginning with effective compression garments that fit comfortably and to provide reliable advice in response to all my customers’ questions.

Images: Bauerfeind, Udo Schönewald


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