Varicose veins are a common issue during pregnancy. They can be painful and unsightly, but they are usually harmless! Varicose veins are caused by increased blood flow pressure as you carry your child.
You may experience them at any point in your pregnancy, but they become more noticeable as your pregnancy progresses. Although the swelling and bulging veins often go away after giving birth, some measures may be taken throughout pregnancy to alleviate the condition.
This article will focus on some of the most common causes of varicose veins and how to prevent them during pregnancy.
What Causes Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?
Varicose veins can happen to anyone, but they’re more common in women and people over 40. They’re caused by weakened valves that allow blood to pool in the veins.
Pregnancy can worsen varicose veins because it increases the amount of blood in your body and changes how your heart works.
Varicose veins usually appear on the legs and ankles, but they can also appear on your buttocks, groin area, or upper thighs. They’re usually blue or purple and may be tender or painful. These swollen veins may get bigger during pregnancy as gravity pulls them down toward the feet.
While a woman is carrying a child, her body increases its blood supply to ensure the baby has enough oxygen and nutrients to develop normally and healthily. While an increase in blood volume is to be expected during pregnancy, the expanding uterus also plays a role in making the veins seem more stretched out than usual.
Sometimes bulges appear on the thighs and legs because veins close to the skin cannot retract due to hormonal shifts. Blood vessel sensitivity increases, leading to edema in the lower extremities.
Women who have already given birth are at an increased risk of developing varicose veins due to weakened pelvic floor muscles and possible vein stretching during pregnancy.
8 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Developing Varicose Veins While Pregnant
If you’re pregnant and have varicose veins, don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of developing more and make your pregnancy more comfortable. Even if you can’t stop them entirely, you can at least lessen their impact and keep them from worsening.
Here are eight ways to lower your risk of developing varicose veins while pregnant:
1. Stay active throughout the day
Varicose veins may be more likely to occur in women who are inactive and have a sedentary lifestyle. Avoid sitting for long periods, especially if you already have varicose veins or have a family history of venous disease. Try to stand up and walk around every 30 minutes or so.
2. Drink plenty of water every day
Drink at least 8 cups of non-alcoholic fluids daily, including water and other noncarbonated drinks. This will help keep up your fluid intake and prevent dehydration, which can worsen varicose veins.
3. Avoid Sitting for Long periods
If you spend a lot of time sitting down, whether it’s at work or home, make sure to get up and stretch your legs every hour or so. This will help keep the blood flowing through your veins and prevent them from becoming twisted and bulging.
4. Wear compression stockings or support hose
Support stockings help reduce swelling by encouraging blood flow back toward your heart and reducing the pressure in your legs. Compression stockings or support hose during your ‘waking hours’ to prevent blood from pooling in the legs and causing varicose veins to form. Your provider may prescribe them for you, or you can buy them over the counter at most pharmacies and department stores.
5. Get Your Weight Off Your Feet
Sitting is bad for your varicose veins, but being on your feet all day can be just as bad. Take breaks from standing up by sitting down, walking around the office, or taking a short walk outside if possible.
6. Raise your legs
Lowering your legs above the level of your heart helps prevent swelling and improves circulation to the lower extremities. This can be accomplished by sitting on an exercise ball or a stool with a built-in seat that raises you higher than usual. It is important to keep your feet on the ground when sitting on the ball or stool.
7. Maintain a sleeping position
The inferior vena cava veins are less likely to be compressed if you sleep on your left side. You may think of this as the main vein that transports blood from your legs to your heart.
8. Maintain a healthy weight
You and your doctor should agree on a safe weight gain goal. When you put extra strain on your already overworked vascular system, you increase your risk of developing varicose veins.
A Final Word
Varicose veins are more common in women than men, and they can be very uncomfortable during pregnancy. The good news is that there are many varicose veins treatments in Melbourne to help restore your health.
Nevertheless, if you don’t get your varicose veins treated, you might have significant health issues, including blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Then you will need DVT treatment to prevent more serious complications. It is best to consult a medical professional as soon as possible if you notice any signs of varicose veins or DVT during pregnancy.