How to Treat Vein Issues While Pregnant
Pregnancy comes with its challenges, and one of those that isn’t always on people’s radar is varicose veins.
Varicose veins during pregnancy are more common than people think, however. Studies show that nearly 50% of pregnant women suffer from vein disease.
In fact, one of the top 5 leading causes of varicose veins is pregnancy. While not every woman will suffer from vein issues while pregnant or following her pregnancy, it is very common.
Why does pregnancy sometimes lead to varicose veins?
Here we will answer that question, and share with you how you can decrease your risk of developing this vein problem during and after your pregnancy.
Why You May See Varicose Veins When Pregnant
1. Hormone changes
The minute you become pregnant, your hormones immediately start changing.
The flux in your hormones can cause a number of things to happen. You may find you’re more irritable, that you have strange food cravings — some of the typical things you hear about with pregnant women.
However, you may be surprised to find out that your changing hormones also affect your veins.
How does that happen?
Progesterone production in a pregnant woman’s ovaries skyrockets during pregnancy. And, because of this, her blood vessels struggle to contract like they did pre-pregnancy.
Though this sounds like a bad thing — there is a reason for it. A pregnant woman’s body needs her blood vessels to be more lax in order to deliver the baby in a healthy way. The downside of this is the fact that it increases your risk of developing varicose veins.
2. Blood levels
Pregnancy causes the amount of blood in a woman’s body to increase massively in order to support the growing baby.
As a result of that increase in blood, your veins will become enlarged.
When not pregnant, your chances of suffering from varicose veins increases if vein problems are in your genes.
And, the same is true if your family history shows that varicose veins developed in your mom or your grandmother during pregnancy.
4. Added pressure
As your due date becomes closer and closer, your body must work harder and harder to go against gravity and circulate blood from your legs up to your heart.
And, as your baby inside continues to grow, your pelvis will be experiencing new levels of pressure, thus affecting the veins that pass through your pelvic area working to circulate your blood.
With this added pressure, you may find that your veins just aren’t working like they used to, and you may see those dreaded blue varicose veins make an appearance.
How To Keep Veins Healthy During Pregnancy
There are things that you can do to help keep your veins healthy during pregnancy, and possibly offset the risk of you developing varicose veins. The key in all of the below is starting to manage your health as soon as possible — the longer you wait, the harder it will be.
Stay in motion
One of the worst things you can do for your veins is sitting or standing in the same place for too long. Take breaks every 30 minutes or so to get moving and get your blood flowing again.
Setting up a workout routine at the beginning stages of your pregnancy will do you wonders.
Not only will the extra endorphins help you during a time when your hormones are going to be off-balance, but exercise is also a great way to keep your blood flow consistent and healthy.
The exercise that you choose to do is up to you and your doctor, though if you weren’t much into working out prior to pregnancy, don’t worry — it’s not as if you’ll have to develop an intense workout regimen.
Though far from anything you’ll see in the catwalks of Fashion Week, compression stockings are a fabulous tool during pregnancy.
If you are sitting or standing for long periods of time while pregnant, pop on these socks to keep your circulation moving.
You may also want to throw compression stockings on when heading out for your daily walk.
Elevate Your Legs
You will find during pregnancy that you feel exhausted. Not just mentally, but also physically.
Many women say their legs have just had it by the end of the day, and sometimes aches immensely.
To combat this, and the vein issues that may result, lay down with your legs elevated above your heart.
Elevating your legs helps take the pressure off of your veins and aids your body in the natural blood flow from the veins of your lower legs all the way up to your heart.
Aim to sleep on your left side
Doing this will help keep pressure off of your main veins and help keep your circulation strong.
Drink plenty of water. This will help prevent the discomfort and strain of constipation.
Avoid high heels and other uncomfortable shoes
The muscles in your calves help to pump blood from your legs and feet back to your heart. Wearing shoes, such as high heels, restricts the movement of your calf muscles which slows circulation and causes blood to pool in your legs, so be sure to keep yourself in comfortable shoes that allow your feet and your veins to breathe.
Vein Treatment after Childbirth
If, despite your best efforts, varicose veins appear during pregnancy, do not lose heart. The same methods of prevention can also be used to keep varicose veins from worsening and to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms. And for many women, the varicose veins of pregnancy will disappear on their own in the months following the baby’s birth.
If your varicose veins look like they’re going to stick around, you can pursue minimally invasive treatments to eliminate unsightly vessels for good. At Vein Clinics of America, we offer two of the most popular methods for addressing varicose veins:
Sclerotherapy – During sclerotherapy, a solution is injected into varicose veins, causing them to seal off from the other veins in your leg. The vein closes over time and is eventually absorbed into your body.
Endovenous Laser Treatment – With ELT, laser energy is delivered into the diseased vein, causing the vein to seal closed and collapse. The vein is reabsorbed by the body, while blood is rerouted to other vessels.
Varicose veins and pregnancy may be a common combination, but you don’t have to take those swollen vessels lying down.