Varicose veins are the swollen and generally unsightly blood vessels that present themselves more often than not in the legs, though they can appear anywhere from the waist down. What many people don’t seem to realize is that hemorrhoids are actually some of the most common forms of varicose veins of all. Varicose veins in the legs are very common during pregnancy. As the blood vessels swell and expand, they may eventually bulge above the skin’s top layer, which leads to the dark purple protrusions which -millions of women would ideally like to rid themselves of for good.
What Causes Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?
One of the most common times in life during which a woman will be affected by varicose veins is during pregnancy. Why this happens is relatively easy to explain – the growing of the uterus (and its contents of course!) presses against the inferior vena cava, which is the large vein running down the right hand side of your body toward your legs. This added pressure increases the blood pressure within the lower half of the body to a much higher level than normal.
What’s more, pregnant women produce a great deal more blood while carrying their children than other women. More blood in the body means more strain put on the blood vessels and it’s once again the blood vessels of the legs that take the most punishment. Gravity doesn’t exactly work in favor of the blood in your legs, which when added to progesterone’s relaxing effect on blood vessels pretty much sets an idea stage for varicose veins to make an unwelcome appearance.
What Are the Risk Factors of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?
What’s also interesting to note is how your chances of being affected by varicose veins is higher if other members of your immediate family have suffered from them. Women are much more likely to get them than men and the bad news is that if you’ve suffered with them during pregnancy, it’s likely they’ll come back with a vengeance next time you get pregnant. Obesity is also a huge trigger for varicose veins and those carrying twins, triplets or more are far more likely to be affected than mothers carrying a single child.
On a positive note, most varicose veins will begin disappearing or at least reducing in severity almost as soon as you have given birth. And even if they stick around long past their welcome, there are ways and means to help get rid of them.
What Are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?
With varicose veins, you will notice bulging purple or blue veins which appear just beneath your skin surface. The spider veins that are likely to develop close to the surface of the skin during pregnancy are unlikely to cause any kind of discomfort and will begin to disappear as soon as the baby has been born.
Varicose veins can be 100% symptomless as far as physical discomfort goes. On the other hand, they can be painful to the touch and make a person’s entire lower body feel achy and heavy. More often than not, any negative feelings associated with varicose veins will be more noticeable in the evening.
Are Varicose Veins During Pregnancy Serious?
Despite causing serious discomfort in some and a fair few confidence issues in others, varicose veins are for the most part completely harmless – at least in the short-term. As such, you don’t really need to worry about them at all during your pregnancy and can instead focus on what matters most – you and your baby. Occasionally, rare cases of varicose veins present women with superficial venous thrombosis – small clots that develop below the surface of the skin and feel hard to the touch, not to mention rather painful. Again, these aren’t normally any cause for concern, but it’s still a good idea to get any suspected clots checked out by a doctor, just for peace of mind if nothing else.
If an infection develops around any varicose veins or clots, you will need to seek medical advice immediately and will most likely be prescribed a course of antibiotics.
How to Treat Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Your varicose veins should have disappeared altogether after about four months from giving birth, though for some women the timeframe can be much shorter or massively longer. In the case of multiple pregnancies, you might notice that there doesn’t seem to be any improvement at all, no matter how long you hold out.
During the recovery period, a good way of helping the healing process is to exercise regularly, wear support hose, try not to stand for long periods of time and keep your legs elevated for as long as possible when sitting or lying down. If nothing seems to work however and you’re deeply unhappy with their appearance or the discomfort you’re in, talk to a doctor with regard to surgical and medicinal options.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Prevention is of course the very best course of action and there are more than a few tips you can follow in order to minimize your likelihood of facing an uphill battle with varicose veins.
|Ensure Healthy Circulation||It’s all about keeping the blood pumping as it should in order to avoid getting varicose veins in the first place. As such, you should be looking to stay off your feet as much as possible, elevate your legs when possible, keep your legs moving and never sit with your legs crossed…ever!|
|Exercise||The more active you are and the stronger your blood flow, the lower your chance of developing varicose veins. Don’t give up on exercise while pregnant, feel free to keep it low-key but at least indulge in frequent walks.|
|Keep a Great Diet||Eating a balanced diet is of incredible importance throughout pregnancy, but if its varicose veins you’re trying to steer clear of, make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin E and throw out all processed foods that won’t do you any good at all. Stick with fruits, vegetable and lean proteins, along with daily vitamin supplements as recommended by your doctor. Constipation breeds varicose veins like you wouldn’t believe, so be sure to take in enough fiber and remain well hydrated.|
|Wear Appropriate Clothing and Support Hose||Any clothing that limits your circulation is pure hell of varicose veins. Wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid anything too tight, which includes the elastic of your socks and even your belt. Support hose is pure gold for helping relieve some of the pressure being caused by your blossoming belly.|
|Stay Trim||Don’t get too carried away while pregnant and use it as an excuse to gain way more weight than your doctor advises you too. Keeping tabs on your weight is also of paramount importance for helping prevent varicose veins.|
|Sleep on Your Left Side||And as we’ve already established that the vena cava runs down the right hand side of your body, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of sleeping on your left hand side in order to limit the amount of pressure placed on it.|