Varicose veins are the large, swollen, bulging blood vessels found predominantly in the legs, under the surface of the skin. However, they can also show up anywhere in the lower half of your body, even in the rectum and vulva. Varicose veins affect almost 40% of pregnant women and are fairly common during pregnancy.
Varicose veins can occur anytime during pregnancy, but they tend to get bigger and more pronounced as you get bigger. Varicose veins occur during pregnancy due to extra pressure on your blood vessels, especially the veins in your legs. This is because these have to work against gravity to push extra blood back to your heart.
Pregnancy causes many changes in your body, leading to the occurrence of varicose veins. The most common reasons for the development of varicose veins during pregnancy are increased production of the hormone, progesterone; increased blood volume during pregnancy, and pressure from the growing uterus.
However, there are certain things you can do to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy, which is what we’ll talk about in this article…
- Keep moving and be active: While it may be difficult to move around when you are pregnant, it is imperative that you continue to be active and moving during your pregnancy. This may be difficult as you may be exhausted or your growing abdomen seems to get in the way. However, you need to move your leg muscles in order to help pump the blood out of your legs. You may also need to engage in certain varicose veins prevention exercises. If you have any reservations about walking or any exercise, do talk to your obstetrician to find out a safe way of moving while you are pregnant.
- Watch your weight: You can have intense food cravings when you are pregnant, but an increase in body weight can put more pressure on your veins. While weight gain during pregnancy is normal and expected, you should try to avoid gaining weight too quickly. You should consult your obstetrician, who will let you know how much weight you should be gaining between doctor visits.
- Put your feet up: You should put your legs up, ideally higher than your heart and you should do this throughout the day. You should use gravity to help the blood drain out of your leg veins. When you are lying down in bed, put a pillow under your feet, to help the blood drain while you rest. If you find yourself standing a lot during the day, find time to take breaks so you can sit and put your feet up.
- Wear maternity hose: Try wearing supportive pantyhose or thigh-high compression stockings. These work by applying pressure to the outside of your legs. They also counteract the pressure within your veins, thereby preventing bulging and swelling. You can put these on in the morning, but you should take them off before going to bed at night. This is a good way to avoid varicose veins during pregnancy.
- Avoid high heels: High heels prevent the leg muscles from working and this keeps blood inside the veins instead of it draining out. Save your high heels for special occasions and wear flat shoes or slippers day to day.
- Avoid crossing your legs: When you cross your legs, it prevents blood from moving out of the veins. This increases the pressure within your veins.
- Choose the left side when sleeping: When you sleep on your left side, this relieves the pressure on the veins in your abdomen and also helps your leg veins drain while you sleep.
- Reduce sodium intake: Do not overload on excessive sodium in the foods that you eat. An increase in the intake of sodium can increase swelling of your varicose veins.
- Eat the right foods: Eat foods with plenty of fiber, so that it prevents constipation, which may result in you straining for your stool, thereby putting more pressure on your varicose veins.
- Drink plenty of water: When you drink enough water, it flushes out your system and reduces cramping and bloating, thereby reducing the discomfort of varicose veins.
If you do develop varicose veins during pregnancy, despite following these tips, you can rest easy knowing that most probably, they will go away without treatment when your baby is 3 to 4 months old. However, for some women this can take up to a year. In the meantime you can wear compression stockings and put your feet up to relieve the discomfort from varicose veins.
If your varicose veins persist, do consult your vascular surgeon, who will recommend the right treatment for your varicose veins. One such vascular surgeon is Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala of the Flow Vascular Clinic. He is a skilled surgeon who will work with you one-on-one and holistically to determine the right treatment of your varicose veins during and after your pregnancy.
He will also alleviate your fears and answer all of your questions patiently. So, if you are worried about your varicose veins during your pregnancy, do not hesitate any longer…consult Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala, so you can enjoy this very special moment in your life…without the discomfort of varicose veins!
For more information about the treatment for varicose veins during pregnancy, as well as the treatment for DVT, or other vascular conditions, contact Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala at (+91) 9989649498 or 9959033037, or at email@example.com or visit our website at www.drabhilash.com