You may be enjoying your pregnancy, but then, you start to notice varicose veins. They present as bulging, blue veins that may ache or itch. Your legs feel heavy, and you may experience cramping at night.
You may have also noticed web-like patterns on your face, legs, or ankles. While they cause no pain or discomfort, they may be worrying. After delivery, they tend to disappear.
So, what are varicose veins in pregnancy?
Understanding Varicose Veins in Pregnancy
Your growing fetus will increase the size of the uterus. The result is pressure on the inferior vena cava, a large vein running along the right side of your body. It puts pressure on the veins, including those in the legs.
Blood in the veins flows against gravity as it returns deoxygenated blood to the heart. During pregnancy, two things happen:-
- You produce more blood meaning more work for the veins.
- You have higher progesterone levels, which relaxes the walls of the veins.
Any distortion to the veins or increase in size may result in varicose veins.
Facts about Varicose Veins
- Varicose veins run in the family; you are more susceptible if someone else had them
- While men can get them, they are more prevalent in women
- They may get worse with successive pregnancies
- Exacerbating factors include old age, excess weight, twin or multiple births, and being on your feet for long
Varicose veins tend to disappear or improve after pregnancy. You will see better results if you did not have them initially. Even if they do not disappear on their own, do not despair; there are treatments available to help the condition.
Preventing Varicose Veins
Take the following steps to minimize or totally prevent varicose veins during your pregnancy:
- Incorporate daily exercises into your routine. You don’t need any fancy exercises; a brisk walk should do it.
- Watch your diet so that you stay within an ideal weight.
- Put your feet up. They should be at the same level as your heart while sitting or lying down.
- Avoid crossing your ankles or legs when in a seated position.
- Move around as much as possible so that you do not stand in one position for too long.
- Talk to a board certified vascular surgeon
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