Around 55% of women develop varicose veins at some time in their lives, any many of these women find that they first notice them during pregnancy. While varicose veins are common during pregnancy, there are steps you can take that may help you prevent them. Here are two things to understand about this subject.
Why It Happens
During pregnancy, your body will go through a variety of changes. One of the main changes is the amount of weight you will gain rather quickly during the nine months you are carrying the child. As you gain weight, there are three ways in which it can lead to developing varicose veins, which are:
- Your blood flow decreases – The amount of blood you have in your body tends to increase during pregnancy; however, the blood flow decreases. The blood flow in your legs is typically affected by the pregnancy, and this lack of blood flow can lead to enlarging of the veins in your legs.
- Your uterus places pressure on veins – In addition, your uterus grows while you are pregnant. As this happens, it tends to place pressure on the vein that delivers blood to the right side of your body. The pressure cuts off blood flow from your legs, and this also leads to varicose veins.
- Your body produces more progesterone – Progesterone is a hormone that increases drastically during pregnancy. This too can lead to varicose veins, because progesterone can cause relaxation of the walls inside your blood vessels.
These three reasons put any pregnant woman at risk for developing varicose veins. If you are pregnant and want to prevent this from happening, there might be ways to do this.
Ways To Prevent This
With the right steps and effort, you might be able to make it through your pregnancy and your entire life without ever developing varicose veins. Here are some tips to help you get through your pregnancy free of varicose veins:
- Avoid rapid weight gain – Most OBGYNs keep a close eye on the weight gain of women who are pregnant. Not only is avoiding too much weight gain important for avoiding varicose veins, but it is also important for having a healthy pregnancy and delivery. If you can gain your pregnancy weight slowly and without gaining too much weight, you can lower your risk of getting varicose veins.
- Keep your feet elevated – If you begin to swell up during your pregnancy, your doctor will recommend elevating your feet. Keeping your feet elevated whenever you can will help your blood move freely, and it can be a good preventative measure against varicose veins.
- Avoid sleeping on your right side – Because it is the vein on your right side that can receive too much pressure, you should avoid sleeping on this side. By sleeping on your left side, you will be decreasing the amount of pressure placed on the veins in your legs.
- Stay active – Exercising is one of the best things you can do during your pregnancy, but you should talk to your doctor about this before you begin. By exercising, you can keep your leg muscles strong and keep the blood flowing to and from your legs.
Preventing varicose veins is better than having to treat them once you get them, but it is not always possible to prevent them. If you end up developing varicose veins during or after your pregnancy, you can go to a doctor for treatment. There are several ways doctors can remove these veins, and you can look into all the options available before selecting the right choice for you. Contact a hospital, such as Premier Surgical Associates, for more information on varicose vein treatment.