As you’ve noticed by now, there are a lot of interesting things that occur to your body during pregnancy. Growing a life inside of you affects you in numerous ways, both in body and mind. One symptom you may not have been prepared for are the bluish, raised, twisting veins that have cropped up on your legs. These are varicose veins.
In addition to their rather alarming appearance, they can cause you some discomfort in the form of heaviness, swelling, numbness, fatigue and even pain. While you are pregnant, it is important to know what causes these annoying bulges, what they might mean and how you can prevent and treat them.
Causes of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Women are more prone to developing varicose veins when they’re pregnant for a number of reasons. One is due to the increase in progesterone seen during this time. This hormone leads to the relaxation of the walls and valves in the blood vessels, allowing blood to pool in the veins of the lower extremities.
In addition, the overall volume of blood in your body increases by about 50% when you are pregnant, adding to the potential pooled blood in the veins.
Lastly, as your uterus expands and becomes heavier, it adds to the pressure that is placed on the vein that circulates blood from the lower part of the body to the heart. Thus, the blood remains pooled because it is unable to fight gravity to reach its destination.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your chances of maintaining healthy veins while you are pregnant.
Elevate Your Feet
Whenever possible, take a load off of your feet. Avoiding standing still for long periods of time will keep the blood from settling into the veins due to poor circulation and the pull of gravity. Also, be sure to rest your feet on a pillow or stool to assist the return of blood flow to the heart.
As mentioned, standing still allows the veins to become pooled with blood. The same can be said for sitting for long periods of time. Take short breaks to walk around your office building or outside when possible to rev up circulation. Even marching in place for short bursts can help. Light exercise is also usually permissible.
Be Aware of Body Positioning
Along with elevating your feet, be sure to avoid crossing your legs. Doing so can restrict the free flow of blood. Maintaining an optimal sleep position of lying on your side, preferably the left, with a pillow between both your knees and your ankles can aid in keeping pressure off of your vena cava, the vein that pushes blood back to the heart.
Wearing compression stockings and keeping weight gain within advisable ranges can also help keep varicose veins at bay during pregnancy. As with most uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms, a bit of care and planning can make a big difference.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Serving the Los Angeles area, Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center in El Segundo is here to help you prevent and treat your varicose veins before, during and after pregnancy. There are various non-surgical options available that can help you say goodbye to the veins once and for all. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.