Varicose veins are a common ailment found in many pregnant women. They can be painful and uncomfortable, which is why so many people with varicose veins want to know how pregnancy affects them.
Pregnancy causes the blood vessels in your legs to relax. This will make it more difficult for the valves that help push blood back up from your feet to work properly.
As a result, you will experience pain and discomfort. But also increased risk of varicose vein complications. In this blog post, we’ll explore what you need to know about veins and pregnancy.
Whenever you’re ready to dive deep into the infamous spider veins, keep reading.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are found in the veins of the legs and are enlarged, twisted veins near the surface of your skin.
Varicose vein symptoms include swelling, aching, or cramping in one or both legs. But also heaviness, tiredness, or pain that radiates from your leg to your ankle. Or how about feeling restless when you’re sitting for long periods of time.
Not to mention, itching at night (especially if varicose veins affect parts below the knee). As well as mild aches after standing for an extended period of time. They may also cause a burning sensation while you’re sitting down because they restrict blood flow out of your leg muscles.
Aching sensations will be worse when standing up because gravity pulls more blood into these veins as your feet are no longer pressing against them. This is why varicose vein symptoms worsen after spending time on your feet. But also why you get the feeling like you need to constantly get up from a seated position.
Hemorrhoids are often painful, as well as embarrassing. DVT is the most serious complication because it could lead to a fatal blood clot in your lung!
Varicose veins can be managed by:
wearing compression stockings
support hose while standing for extended periods of time
avoiding crossing legs at the knee when sitting down
drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated
not standing too long on hard floors that put more pressure on these veins
The good news is varicose vein symptoms will ease up after pregnancy ends. Primarily, because they’re caused by elevated levels of hormones during gestation.
Why Does Pregnancy Cause Varicose Veins?
Pregnancy causes these complications because of the dramatic increase in your estrogen levels that make blood vessels swell. This is because of all the extra fluids you’re carrying with pregnancy, as well as during breastfeeding after delivery!
The good news is varicose vein symptoms will ease up after pregnancy ends since they’re caused by elevated levels of hormones during gestation.
One more thing to consider about varicose veins and whether or not it’s safe to get pregnant: If you have any other risk factors such as being over age 35, having a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus type I or II, kidney problems (e.g., nephritis), chronic anemia from bleeding disorders like hemophilia A and B; then talk to your doctor before getting pregnant.
Varicose veins can also be caused by other circumstances, which are entirely unrelated to pregnancy. If you are not pregnant yet and suspect varicose veins, you should still speak to a doctor. This problem affects men as well, primarily in the groin area.
How to Manage Veins And Pregnancy?
So what can somebody do about varicose veins during pregnancy? In order to manage this issue, pregnant women should avoid standing for long periods or holding their weight in one leg.
It’s not a good idea to wear high heels, either! Instead, try wearing low-heeled shoes and changing positions every so often when you’re sitting at work. As always, the best way to take care of varicose veins is by being careful with your diet and exercise regimen.
Typically, varicose veins go away on their own after pregnancy. If you find that they are not going away, you can ask your doctor about treatments. Some of the treatments for varicose veins are varicose veins during and after pregnancy include surgery, such as stripping or ligation.
Stripping surgery involves removing the vein by cutting out a section of it. Ligation is done by tying an elastic band around the base of the varicose vein.
Can Varicose Veins Be Prevented?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent varicose veins. However, you can take steps that will help lessen the chance of developing them: wear flat shoes with good arch support and change your position every so often when you’re sitting at work.
As always, the best way to take care of varicose veins is by being careful with your diet and exercise regimen.
If they don’t go away after pregnancy or if they start bothering you during pregnancy, talk to a doctor about treatments. Treatments are wide-scaled with a variety of options for specific cases of varicose complications.
What Dietary Changes Help With Varicose Veins?
In terms of diet, varicose veins can be managed by eating foods that are low in salt, caffeine, and alcohol. As always, it’s important to drink enough water while you’re pregnant. Other foods that help during pregnancy are high in antioxidants – like blueberries, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.
Varicose Veins And Exercise During Pregnancy
It is possible to exercise during pregnancy if varicose veins don’t bother you too much. The best type of activity for exercising during pregnancy would be swimming as this won’t put any stress on your body or the baby inside of it!
Other forms of exercise available are walking and yoga. A doctor may also recommend sitting in a hot bath or using compression socks during pregnancy to help with the pain of varicose veins.
Exercises that help varicose veins include stretching the calf muscles by using a chair for support or doing hamstring curls to strengthen muscles around your ankles.
You can also do leg raises while lying on your back with straight legs extended and bent at knee level. These exercises will not only improve blood flow but may even lessen swelling.
Are There Side-Effects to Varicose Veins?
For pregnant women who have varicose veins, side effects are not uncommon. The most commonly found side effect is a pain in the legs. This may be more pronounced during times of higher stress or when standing for a long period of time.
Again, if you are pregnant and have varicose veins, it’s important to consult with your doctor first. This is done before making any decisions about treatment options!
In terms of long-term effects, varicose veins should not cause any serious health problems for the mother or baby.
Varicose veins can usually be treated with minimally invasive procedures such as sclerotherapy and endovenous laser ablation, however, it is important to consult with your doctor first before making any decisions about treatment options!
In general, varicose veins are not dangerous to either the pregnant woman or her unborn child. Varicose veins cause bleeding which can lead to iron deficiency anemia in some cases but because they are so superficial these side effects should go away after giving birth.
However, there may be other complications that arise during pregnancy (such as high blood pressure) that will have a much greater effect on the child’s development than having varicose veins–so you should always speak to your doctor about the best way to treat them for you.
In addition, many people get varicose veins during pregnancy due to increased blood volume and there is no scientific evidence that indicates it impacts a baby’s development in any significant way.
The most important thing with these vein problems is how they affect YOU–not just what might happen medically or otherwise! If you are suffering from extreme discomfort while pregnant then talk to your physician about possible treatment options because more often than not this can be eased by some type of conservative treatments like laser therapy.
But if it doesn’t help much then don’t worry too much-just sit down when you’re sitting at home and take care of yourself as much as possible while pregnant so that your child is able to grow and develop in the safest environment possible.
Varicose Veins Treatment for You
Now that you have discovered the foundations of veins and pregnancy, you are well on your way to manage your pregnancy without issue. However, it can still be daunting to do this all on your own. Not to mention, some cases are significantly worse than others.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort from varicose veins, you should get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can discuss the potential treatment options for you.
Don’t hesitate to reach out. We understand that it can be embarrassing to confront an issue that might seem to be cosmetic at first, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your well-being for pride.
Mrs. Paige Bourbeau, ARNP is a distinguished graduate of the University of South Florida's Masters of Science in Nursing program from 2012. As one of the top achievers in her class, she was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society and recognized by the American College of Phlebology for her expertise in treating venous insufficiency.