The changes to your body during pregnancy and the additional pressure placed on it can increase the pressure in your leg veins, causing varicose veins to develop or become worse. There are ways that you can prevent the occurrence of varicose veins and they will often improve some time after you’ve given birth.
Why do Varicose Veins Appear?
Varicose veins refer to swollen veins which can bulge close to the skin’s surface. They typically appear on the legs and are purple or blue in colour. There can be no symptoms, but others may find their legs are achy or heavy and the skin around them becomes itchy or has a burning sensation.
Varicose Veins in Pregnancy
The first time women often notice varicose veins appearing is in pregnancy, as more pressure is put on a large vein on your body’s right side because of the growing uterus. This puts more pressure on the veins in your leg. There is also additional blood flowing through your body, which puts further demands on your veins, and the blood vessel walls relax as progesterone levels increase.
There are a number of risk factors to developing varicose veins in pregnancy, including a family history of them and multiple pregnancies.
In the majority of cases, varicose veins improve after the birth, especially if you didn’t have them previously. However, if they are still causing you problems you can look at one of the treatments for varicose veins that are offered by specialist clinics
Tips for Preventing Varicose Veins
Even if you’re susceptible to developing varicose veins in pregnancy there are some tips you can use to minimise or prevent them.
Daily exercise can help as it boosts your circulation, even if you only take a brisk walk.
Keeping within a healthy weight range for your height and pregnancy stage will reduce the pressure on your legs.
When possible keep your legs and feet in an elevated position and rest them on a stool when sitting down, rather than crossing your ankles or legs.
If you’re standing or sitting for a long time make sure you move around regularly to keep the circulation going.
Compression stockings can be beneficial, as they are tight fitting around the ankle but looser further up, so the blood can flow back to your heart easier.