Dealing with varicose veins during pregnancy

The risk of getting varicose veins increases when you're pregnant. Read on to find out how you can prevent and treat varicose veins during pregnancy.

varicose veins during pregnancy Varicose veins are these alarming purplish squiggles that might start appearing during pregnancy

Having varicose veins is a problem for many women. But when you are pregnant, they can become worse. The unsightly veins can look blue, purple or squiggly underneath your skin.  While they are not uncomfortable, they can be embarrassing. Read on to find out how you can prevent the appearance of varicose veins and what you can do to treat them.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are the topmost layer of veins directly beneath the skin that are caused by enormous pressure put on them. This happens quite often when a woman is pregnant. A woman's growing uterus results in larger amounts of blood being pumped through her veins. While you are pregnant, your body will also release progesterone, which is a hormone that causes your blood vein walls to relax. This also causes them stretch out of place and get larger.

Do varicose veins happen to all pregnant women?

On the average, yes. Many pregnant women will experience varicose veins during their pregnancy. That does not mean every single woman will, but the percentage of women who don't get varicose veins is very small. Your body will go through many changes when you are pregnant, so every woman is different and may experience different effects. The saving grace is that most varicose veins disappear after delivery.

How to deal with varicose veins?

There are some things you can do to help minimize or prevent varicose veins. Many of these tips are very easy to do and can be done anywhere.

  1. Exercise daily. Even if you just take a short walk, it will help your circulation.
  2. Try to maintain a reasonable weight. Your doctor can advise you on what your recommended weight level is.
  3. Keep your feet and legs up whenever possible. If you are going to be sitting for any length of time, prop your feet up with a pillow. This helps to decrease the gravity pull on your fluids so they do not build up in your legs.
  4. Wear support hose. This will help reduce the swelling and allow blood to flow more easily back up to your heart.
  5. Sleep on your left side. Your inferior vena cava is on the right side, so lying on your left side relieves the vein of the weight of the uterus, thus decreasing pressure on the veins in your legs and feet.

Varicose veins do not normally cause any discomfort. If you feel any discomfort or tingling feeling, you must consult your doctor. Discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor, and he/she can provide you valuable resources to help address them.

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