Varicose Veins and the Problems They Can Cause in Pregnancy
The appearance of varicose veins is more common in women than men but still affects over 30% of adults. While people might be more accepting of developing varicose veins as they age, when they occur in pregnancy it can be devastating for these young women.
Pregnancy and Varicose Veins
Pregnancy can be the reason why veins appear because of the pressure on the legs and ankles. In extreme cases, they swell, feel painful and itchy and can cause considerable embarrassment. They can even be a concern for your health and if you feel yours is an extreme case, you would be wise to seek medical advice.
Deep Vein Thrombosis and Varicose Veins
Preventing Varicose Veins in Pregnancy
If left untreated, varicose veins can escalate into venous insufficiency, which is less serious but more common than DVT. So catch these symptoms early and practise lots of preventative measures to stop those varicose veins in their tracks.
- Frequent rest is all important as the growing uterus continues to put more and more pressure on the lower body veins, causing any strained blood flow to lead to larger swollen veins both in the legs or the vulva and rectum areas. More rest means less pressure.
- How you sleep can make a difference because the largest vein is the vena cava on the right side of your body. Try to sleep on the left side to decrease the pressure on that vena cava vein.
- When sitting or sleeping, keep your feet elevated to help increase the blood flow. At the same time, avoid crossing your legs when sitting to prevent the restriction of blood flow to your legs. Take a break with your feet elevated or move around if you have to stand for any length of time.
- Maternity support hose can be very beneficial. If you decide they could be helpful to you, put them on (before you stand up when you get out of bed in the morning) for a more comfortable day ahead.
- Exercising regularly will increase the blood flow and improve your circulation. A short brisk walk for 15 minutes has all round benefits.
- Kegel exercises where you tighten the vaginal muscle and hold for 20 seconds at least 5 times per session several times per day are a great way to prevent hemorrhoids or varicose veins of the rectum.
- Weight gain does not help varicose veins so do you best to keep within the recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy.
- A diet rich in high fiber food including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will reduce the risk of constipation that can lead to varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
The good news about being pregnant with varicose veins is that they often improve within 3 months of giving birth but be warned that subsequent pregnancies can lead to further varicose veins developing.