One of the unfortunate and uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy is varicose veins. We will take a look at why pregnancy increases your risk of developing itchy, painful and swollen veins and what you can do to prevent it from happening.
Why are Varicose Veins More Common During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body is going through a lot of changes. One of those changes, fluctuations in blood flow, increases your risk of developing varicose veins.
The body experiences an increase in blood volume during pregnancy. At the same time, the body is seeing an increase in blood volume, your body also experiences a decrease in the flow of blood to your lower body. These two changes to your body and put extreme pressure on your veins, in particular, the veins in the lower legs.
Other changes that occur during pregnancy that increase your risk of developing varicose veins include:
- Hormonal changes – increased levels of progestin cause the veins to widen
- Pressure from the uterus is placed on the major vein that keeps blood flowing from the heart to the legs. The pressure can cause the veins in the lower extremities to swell.
- Weight gain
Take Precautions to Prevent Varicose Veins
Making simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing the amount of exercise you do or avoiding sodium, can help prevent varicose veins during pregnancy.
The following are some examples of lifestyle changes that could help you to prevent the veins in your body from becoming enlarged and swollen:
- •Take frequency breaks so you avoid sitting or standing for too long
- •Wear comfortable, flat shoes instead of high heels
- •Exercise regularly. Please note, before starting any exercise routine while pregnant it is important that you consult your doctor to make sure it is safe.
- •Try to sleep on the left side as this will reduce pressure on the vein in the body that can often cause varicose veins
- •Eat a healthy diet that is low in sodium as sodium can cause the veins in your body to swell
- •Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- •Wear support stockings
It is impossible to completely prevent varicose veins as some factors, such as hormone levels and heredity, can cause them to form and these factors are out of your control. However, doing some of the things listed above will decrease your chances of developing painful, swollen veins during pregnancy.
Treatment Options for Varicose Veins
It is often recommended that you wait to seek treatment for varicose veins until after your pregnancy. Waiting to seek treatment is recommended because the body tends to naturally correct varicose veins after your pregnancy.
If you notice your varicose veins are still present six to eight weeks after your pregnancy, you may want to see a vein specialist to discuss possible treatment options. Possible treatment options that may be available include:
- •Endovenous thermal ablation
- •Ambulatory phlebectomy
Even though you may not be able to treat varicose veins during pregnancy that doesn’t mean you have to deal with the pain and discomfort. A vein specialist, such as Dr. Pittman of Vein911 in Tampa, Florida, can provide you with recommendations for ways to improve your vein health and to safely reduce any pain or discomfort in the veins you experience during pregnancy.
Experiencing pain and discomfort from varicose or spider veins? Call Vein911 today to schedule an appointment to speak with Dr. Pittman about possible vein treatment options.