Swollen veins may bulge near the skin surface in any part of the body. However, not all bulging of veins are varicose veins. As a matter of fact, vasodilation (to give it it’s official name) may occur in perfectly healthy people who have none of the risk factors associated with varicose veins.
During pregnancy, a number of changes happen in the body system of the expectant mother including increase in body weight and enhanced hormonal secretion. While these changes are perfectly normal and contribute to the healthy growth of the unborn baby, they can also overburden the circulatory system hence varicose veins during pregnancy are fairly common.
Many women first develop varicose veins during pregnancy while for others an existing condition may worsen during this time. The developing baby causes the uterus to grow and this adds pressure on the large vein (inferior vena cava) located on the right side of the body which in turn multiplies the pressure in the leg veins. Veins are the blood vessels which are responsible for returning blood to your heart from your extremities. These veins work against the gravity. When you are expectant, the quantity of blood in your body increases hence adding to the burden on your veins. The progesterone also rise further causing the walls of your blood vessels to relax.
The combined effect of these changes puts you at a risk of developing varicose veins because the relaxed and overburdened veins lose their elasticity and weaken the valves which in turn lowers their effectiveness in controlling the blood flow.
Women whose families have a history of varicose veins are at a higher risk of developing the condition. In terms of vulnerability, women are more likely to inherit the condition compared to men.
Other risk factors that may compound your susceptibility to this condition in addition to your pregnancy include previous injuries, blood clotting problems, the nature of your occupation, and your general lifestyle.
However scary it may be, varicose veins is a condition that can be addressed through treatment. In most expectant women, this condition improves immediately following delivery particularly in cases where the condition developed out of the pregnancy. Some women develop spider veins in addition to varicose veins. Spider veins are tiny blood vessels appearing close to the skin surface on your face, legs and ankles. These are not strange but a reduced form of varicose veins and can be treated in a similar manner as varicose veins.
What to do to Prevent Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Varicose veins that come due to pregnancy may be difficult to completely prevent them but they can be minimized using the following approaches.
Exercise – It is important to exercise regularly during your pregnancy period. Exercise will give you many benefits during this period but most significantly is that it helps you in enhancing your blood circulation. This will reduce cases of edema and swelling of ankles and feet.
Weight maintenance – You need to watch your weight closely because going beyond the recommended weight for your stage of pregnancy can affect your mobility and more so the circulation system. Excess weight puts pressure on the blood vessels on the lower limbs which in turn make them less elastic and the valves in them ineffective. This causes varicose veins.
Avoid standing or sitting for longer periods – Irrespective of the nature of your work or household duties, ensure you do not sit or stand longer than necessary. The standing and sitting postures put pressure on your lower limbs and leads to pooling of blood and other body fluids.
Other ways of preventing varicose veins during pregnancy are your sleeping posture and wearing compression stockings.
Pregnancy is one of the most sensitive periods in your life. Inasmuch as surgical procedures are recommended for treatment of varicose veins, they should be the last resort during pregnancy. Instead, you can go for non-surgical approaches such as varicose veins creams which are specially formulated for topical application. The advantage with topical creams is that they give localized treatment and fast relief to any pain or itching as a result of the varicose veins symptoms.
You can also go for compression stockings in drugs supply stores to help tighten your leg muscles hence giving them the capacity to contract and push blood back to the heart. In the early stages of your pregnancy, it is important you know your risk factors so that you can take the necessary precautions and reduce your vulnerability.
Defend Against Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
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