Many women first develop varicose veins during pregnancy. Or those with existing visible varicose veins may experience a worsening of symptoms due to changes within the body that occur during the 40 weeks of pregnancy. As the uterus grows with pregnancy, it can put increased pressure on the inferior vena cava, a large vein on the right side of your body that carries blood back to the heart from your feet and legs. In turn, this can intensify pressure on the veins within the leg. These veins are already working against gravity to return blood back to the heart, so this added pressure can increase the likelihood of the veins and vein valves weakening. This weakening can allow the pooling of blood within the veins, thus forming a varicose vein.
In addition, when expecting, the amount of blood in your body increases. With the increase of blood and the same amount of veins and arteries to carry the blood, obviously, this too can add to intensity within the veins. Also, during pregnancy levels of the hormone progesterone rise causing the vein walls to relax, making the job of the vein valves more difficult.
If you have varicose veins, they tend to get worse with each pregnancy and especially when carrying multiples. The good news is many varicose veins improve within a few weeks after delivery. But, if your varicose vein symptoms have not subsided within 6 weeks, you may consider scheduling a consult with Premier Vein Clinics [http://www.premierveinclinics.com/request-an-appointment/] to discuss your treatment options.
To reduce your risk of developing varicose veins or minimize them during pregnancy, follow these tips:
- Daily, low-impact exercise if your doctor says it’s OK
- Stay within the recommended weight range given to you by your doctor
- Elevate your feet above your heart for 10 to 15 minute intervals throughout the day
- Avoid crossing your legs or ankles
- Do not stay in one position for too long
- Take breaks from sitting or standing for extended periods
- Wear maternity support hose to gently squeeze the veins and help push the blood back toward your heart.
Most women who have experienced a pregnancy know that sleeping can be very uncomfortable. If possible, it is best to sleep on your left side to relieve pressure on the vein referenced above on the right side of the body. Some women find it helpful to sleep with a pillow between their legs while lying on their left side to further alleviate pressure on the hips. If you notice that your veins feel warm, hard, or painful, or the skin around them looks red, call your doctor.
With pregnancy, your body experiences a tremendous amount of change and there are plenty of things to worry you and keep you awake at night. Rest easy in knowing that varicose veins are generally harmless in the short term and often resolve after delivery.
Give your body time to recover post pregnancy and if your varicose veins are still bothering you, take this self-assessment from Premier Vein Clinics of Knoxville to see if it is time to seek treatment.