As you prepare for your little bundle of joy to arrive, you’re busy dealing with nursery colors, baby names, birth plans, and much more. The last thing you want to worry about are the unsightly and sometimes painful, varicose veins that you recently noticed on your legs.
Varicose veins are swollen blood vessels that are found in the lower part of the body, usually the legs and thighs. They are typically caused by high blood pressure, as the veins have a hard time circulating the blood through the body.
What causes varicose veins during pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, your body is producing extra volumes of blood to support you and your baby. This can put additional pressure on your blood vessels; especially those in the legs, making your veins work harder to circulate the blood throughout the body.
Furthermore, your body is going through numerous changes to be able to house your baby. A big change is the increase in progesterone, a hormone that relaxes your blood vessels in addition to softening cartilage and keeping your little one safe. These relaxing blood vessels don’t help much as your body is trying to circulate more blood.
How to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy
There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins from happening. Women who did not have varicose veins before their pregnancy may see their veins go back to normal. However, if you have another baby, there is a chance of their return.
Varicose veins are also hereditary. If they run in your family, you are more likely to develop them during pregnancy.
What to do about varicose veins during pregnancy
Here are some tips to help you deal with varicose veins during your pregnancy:
- Exercise. Get your legs moving by taking a walk or performing other low-aerobic activity. This will help keep the blood circulating.
- Wear compression stockings. Compression stockings can help to relieve pain in the legs, in addition to giving your veins more support.
- Maintain a healthy pregnancy weight. While weight gain during pregnancy is normal, excessive weight gain can put extra strain and stress on your blood vessels, increasing the chances of developing varicose veins.
- Avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time. It is recommended that you walk or stretch every hour to avoid putting excess pressure on the blood vessels.
If your varicose veins do not go away after your pregnancy, then you should speak to a varicose vein specialist. Varicose veins can be a sign of a more serious vein complication and should be thoroughly examined by a qualified doctor, who will be able to tell you if treatment options, such as Enodovenous Laser Therapy or Sclerotherapy, are available