Clinical Note

Edema

It should be noted that decreases in arteriolar tone and plasma colloid osmotic pressure change the balance of forces across the capillaries in favor of increased net filtration and expansion of interstitial fluid volume (see Chapter 16).

Consequently, pregnant women are prone to edema, especially in the legs. In late pregnancy, when the gravid uterus compresses the femoral veins and increases venous pressure in the legs, the tendency for net filtration and the accumulation of extravascular fluid is exaggerated.

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