Can Pregnancy Cause Varicose Veins?

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pregnancy and varicose veins

When you are pregnant, you feel a range of symptoms that can include everything from morning sickness and food cravings, to swollen feet and frequent urination. However, there is another symptom of pregnancy that is often overlooked called varicose veins.

Fortunately, it’s not very difficult to manage varicose veins that arise during pregnancy. In this post, we will be exploring the different tips for managing varicose veins before and after pregnancy. In order to understand what varicose can do to your body, it is important to first understand why pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing this condition.

The Connection Between Pregnancy and Varicose Veins

During pregnancy, your blood volume increases while the rate of blood flow in your pelvis decreases. This change in the body’s physiology puts immense pressure on the veins which can eventually cause them to become varicose.

The increased pressure from the growing fetus along with the high volume of blood passing through your veins can result in you having varicose veins. That is why it is important to reduce the pressure on your veins and take measures to reduce pain from swelling.

Varicosities during pregnancy commonly occur in legs due to the veins being enlarged. Besides being present in legs, these veins can make you feel uncomfortable, painful, and itchy by being present in your rectum and genital area. Varicose veins can be hereditary as well, so it’s important to talk to family members and your primary care physician about your medical history to determine if you are at a higher risk of developing varicose veins.

Now that you know the connection between varicose veins and pregnancy, it’s time to take a deep dive into different ways of managing this common health condition.

Learn About Varicose Veins

Lifestyle Changes

Avoid Standing or Sitting for Long

You should already be doing low-impact exercises regularly during your pregnancy, however you should also avoid sitting or standing for long periods. Varicose veins develop when your blood circulation is extremely poor, and one of the primary causes of poor blood circulation is sitting or standing for extended periods of time. To boost your blood circulation, it is better to change positions or stand up occasionally throughout the day.[1]

Exercise Regularly

Most importantly, you need to focus on getting regular exercises. Varicose veins usually happen when you are in the later phase of your pregnancy. At that time, the weight of the baby pushes down toward your pelvis. During this time, you should try a couple of low-impact exercises like swimming or walking. Doing this will benefit the health of your baby and will keep your blood flowing properly throughout your body.

Raise Your Legs Frequently

If you need to sit in one single position for a longer period, it is best to raise your legs from occasionally throughout the day. If you have to sit on a chair for long hours, then it is best to rest your feet on a small stool. That way, some pressure on your veins will be relieved. If your work or health allows, you should go for a short walk; these small occasional walks will help improve your body’s circulation. If you need a more comfortable way to raise your legs throughout the day, try stacking a number of pillows under your knees and feet.

Sleep on Your Left Side

There is a major vein that runs down the right side of your body. To prevent putting additional pressure on the veins, you should get some sleep while lying down on your left side. For improving the blood flow, you can sleep on your left side while elevating your body by putting pillows underneath your ankles and knees.

Dietary Changes

Pay Attention to Weight Management

As you will be naturally gaining weight during your pregnancy, you should stick to a healthy lifestyle and maintain a balanced weight during your prenatal days. However, if you are overweight, you should make sure to consult with your primary care physician about steps you can take to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. For instance, your doctor may tell you to add more fiber-rich food to your diet along with some low-impact exercises during the prenatal phase.

Eat Plenty of Fiber

Some ladies will develop hemorrhoids during their pregnancy. But despite that, you should make sure to include up to 30 grams of fiber in your everyday diet for preventing constipation. The thing is, straining from constipation can easily change normal veins into varicose veins that are referred to as hemorrhoids. Eating more fiber means that you will need to consume more fluids daily for to maintain the health of your digestive system.

Watch Your Sodium Levels

A diet that is high in sodium will lead to swelling that can eventually pressurize your veins. Which is why, it is advisable to consume food with low sodium. It is best if you can swap high-sodium foods with fresh ingredients like vegetables, herbs, and spices.

Don’t Skip Your Prenatal Vitamins

Your doctors will mostly recommend that you consume prenatal vitamins every day during the course of your pregnancy. The key prenatal vitamins should include both Vitamin C and A. These vitamins are essential for keeping the health of your blood vessels intact so that they are powerful enough to repair any damage to the veins.

Still Not Feeling Better?

If you are still experiencing pain or discomfort associated with the veins in your legs or ankles, it’s best to get a professional consultation at one of our clinics. Venous insufficiency, also commonly known as vein disease, is an underlying condition that causes legs to feel achy, cramped, restless, or swollen, as well as make walking or standing for long periods painful.

Left untreated, this condition can lead to serious health risks such as venous ulcers, skin discoloration, ruptured veins, or blood clots. Here at USA Vein Clinics, our vein specialists have improved the symptoms of many Americans since 2005. Being the largest network of clinics across the country, we specialize in offering non-surgical and outpatient treatments for varicose and spider veins.

Some treatments we offer include Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) or Ultra-sounded Guided Sclerotherapy (USGS) to treat underlying venous insufficiency. All of the treatments that we offer are FDA approved, office-based procedures.

To learn more about varicose veins, please visit the “Causes & Risk Factors tab underneath the “Vein Disease” section of our website. If you think you have varicose veins or are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, call 888.768.3467 or click the button below to schedule your consultation online.

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