Pregnancy Varicose Veins
Pregnancy can give your skin a wonderful glow. It can also give you stretch marks and varicose veins. You usually see varicose veins as ropey, bulging trails on your legs, but they can appear anywhere in your lower body. You don’t see them, just feel them, but those pregnancy-related hemorrhoids are varicose veins in your rectum. You can even develop varicose veins on your vulva, the outside of your vagina.
Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce the risk of developing these uncomfortable, swollen veins. There are also ways to treat them if they develop and don’t go away on their own.
Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Veins carry blood from throughout your body back up to your heart. Varicose veins develop when the valves inside the veins stop working properly. As a result, blood backs up instead of flowing properly. This causes pools of blood to develop and the veins swell and become painful.
When you are pregnant, you produce more blood to support the baby. Your hormones, which help ligaments relax so the baby can be born, also cause the walls of your veins to relax. At the same time, your growing uterus places additional weight on the inferior vena cava, a large vein on the right side of your body. The other veins in your lower body get strained, and varicose veins result.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
- Because varicose veins are caused by blood pooling in the legs, keeping your feet elevated helps the blood flow properly without developing those pools. While you shouldn’t spend the whole day lying in bed (unless on doctor-ordered bed rest), a few minutes at the end of the day with your feet propped up can make you feel better.
- When you aren’t lying down, be sure to wear compression stockings which encourage proper blood flow.
- Also encourage proper blood flow by staying active. This doesn’t have to mean starting an exercise routine if you haven’t been working out previously, though you can continue to exercise throughout pregnancy if you check with your doctor first. Simply shifting your position regularly will help blood flow better.
- If you do have to sit or stand for an extended period of time, flex your legs occasionally. Propping them up on a chair or stool will also help. Don’t cross your legs at the knees, as that will block blood flow.
- Although it can be difficult to find any comfortable sleeping position, especially later in pregnancy, try to sleep on your left side if possible. Since the inferior vena cava is on the right side of your body, lying on your left keeps the weight of your uterus off that vein and reduces the pressure in the veins in your legs and feet.
- Keep an eye on your diet. While you need to gain weight during pregnancy, if you or your baby gains too much weight it increases the risk of health issues including varicose veins.
- To reduce the chance of developing hemorrhoids, try to avoid constipation. You should be drinking lots of fluids – not just water, but also fruit juice, especially prune juice. Limit salt and eat high fiber foods. Taking walks and doing light physical activity will also help prevent constipation. If you do become constipated, you can safely take a stool softener even during pregnancy. Speak with your doctor before taking other laxatives.
Treating Varicose Veins During and After Pregnancy
It’s possible to treat varicose veins during pregnancy, but since the condition that caused the veins, pregnancy continues, it’s preferable to wait until after the pregnancy is over before attempting treatment. We suggest giving them at least three or four months after you give birth. They can take longer to improve on their own, and sometimes they don’t, especially if you’ve been pregnant more than once.
If your varicose veins don’t go away on their own, talk to us about treatments that can help. Modern, non-surgical procedures are minimally invasive and let you do your normal activities right after each appointment. Most treatments are non-surgical and involve lasers or injections. Although a surgical treatment is sometimes needed, even that allows returning to activities by the following day. When you’re busy with your family, quick, effective treatments are just what you need.
Treatment for Varicose Veins Utah
Don’t endure another day with bulging, unsightly or painful varicose veins. Arrange a free leg screening at the Vein Institute of Utah by calling (801) 386-5903, or schedule an appointment online right now.
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