Yes, we’ve talked about vein health and pregnancy before, but wanted to share even more recent information, especially for any new readers! As we know, women endure many changes during pregnancy. Some are beautiful in the long run, but some are not so beautiful. Varicose veins are one of the many “joys” that pregnant women deal with.
During pregnancy there is a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body. Pressure from the enlarging womb on pelvic veins and an increase in hormones make pregnancy the single largest strain on leg veins. A growing number of abnormal veins usually appear with each additional pregnancy.
What can you do about varicose veins during pregnancy? We’ve found an article that we love from whattoexpect.com that answers this question perfectly! Enjoy!
What you need to know about varicose veins during pregnancy
You may not like the way varicose veins look (who would?), and they may itch or ache, but they’re unlikely to put either you or your baby at any risk. The good news is that in most cases, if you didn’t have them before you got pregnant, your varicose veins shrink or disappear altogether within a few months after you give birth. The not-so-good news? If you have another baby, there’s no way of preventing varicose veins that time around (the same veins are likely to pop out again). And like many other pregnancy symptoms, including stretch marks, varicose veins tend to be hereditary. If your mother had them during pregnancy, you’re more likely to have them, too.
There is some remote risk that a varicose vein could become inflamed, possibly indicating a blood clot, so be sure to keep your practitioner informed and aware of your varicose veins.
What to do about varicose veins during pregnancy
Preventing varicose veins isn’t a perfect science, but these tips can definitely help:
- Keep the blood circulating. Get off your feet whenever you can, and keep your legs elevated when sitting. When standing, put one foot on a low stool and alternate legs. Flex your ankles every so often, and break the habit of sitting with your legs crossed (this strategy will also help keep spider veins at bay).
- Exercise is key in preventing varicose veins. Take a walk (or even better still, several walks) each day, or do some other form of low-key, circulation-increasing exercises.
- Make sure you wear clothes — including underwear — that fit well and don’t bind, especially around the tops of your legs. Don’t wear tight belts or socks with tight elastic tops, and stay away from tight-fitting shoes and stiletto heels (as if you could balance in them anyway).
- One kind of tight that’s helpful though: support hose, which can counteract the downward pressure of your belly and give the veins in your legs a little extra upward push. Put them on before you get out of bed in the morning to prevent the blood from pooling. (Okay, not your sexiest pregnancy moment!)
- Keep your weight gain during pregnancy down to what your practitioner recommends. Extra poundage only increases the demands on your already overworked circulatory system.
- Sleep on your left side to avoid pressure on your main blood vessels, and keep circulation going strong.
- Don’t strain. Heavy lifting or straining on the toilet can add to vein visibility.
- Get your daily dose of vitamin C from your balanced diet, which keeps veins healthy.
If the veins don’t go away after the baby has arrived, you can think about having them medically treated or surgically removed then — but not during pregnancy.