Varicose Veins and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time of life but it can also come with interesting side effects. As pregnancy progresses, some women may start to notice blue and purple veins becoming more visible in their legs. Varicose veins are a pretty common occurrence to happen during pregnancy. But why do they occur and are they dangerous? Let’s find out more about varicose veins and pregnancy.

Why do varicose veins happen during pregnancy?

Varicose veins happen quite often during pregnancy. In fact, about 50% of pregnancies result in the development of varicose veins. This happens for a couple of reasons: 1. hormones and 2. extra pressure may be coming from the additional volume of blood your body is producing to support you and your little one. Varicose veins typically appear in legs because the blood flowing from the legs to the heart is working against gravity. Additional blood flow paired with an expectant mother’s weight gain will put pressure on blood vessels, so your body will be working even harder to get more blood back to your heart. All this pressure can cause varicose veins to develop.

Will varicose veins stay after giving birth?

It is possible for varicose veins to improve, and in some cases disappear, once the extra pressure has decreased; however, there are a variety of factors that could prevent varicose veins from healing on their own after giving birth.

For some women, varicose veins can be painful and the veins may not disappear after giving birth. Some factors include vein disease before pregnancy, multiple pregnancies or family history. Varicose veins can cause pain, tingling, itching, numbness, heaviness, but they are unlikely to put you or your baby at immediate risk.

It’s worth noting that if you develop varicose veins during your first pregnancy, there’s no way to prevent them during additional pregnancies.

Is there a way to prevent varicose veins from happening?

Varicose veins can be hereditary. If you have a family history of varicose veins, this will increase your chances during pregnancy, and after. But there are things you can do during pregnancy to decrease your risk.

  • Keep moving – it’s important to get your blood flowing as much as possible.
  • Don’t cross your legs.
  • Whenever you can, elevate your feet.
  • Wear maternity stockings to help compress leg muscles and squeeze the veins to help blood flow.
  • Get low-impact exercise daily, but make sure you have your doctor’s approval first.
  • Watch your weight – anything over the 35lbs mark may increase strain on your vessels.
  • Sleep on your left side as your main blood vessels are on your right. Sleeping on the opposite side will help avoid additional pressure.
  • Avoid straining while heavy lifting or on the toilet.
  • Keep up with your vitamins, especially vitamin C, which helps to produce collagen and elastin to repair and maintain your blood vessels.

If you don’t notice a change in vein appearance after giving birth or have any concern about your varicose veins during pregnancy, Summit Skin and Vein Care can help. Schedule your free vein screening for peace of mind.

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