What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are caused by weakened valves in the veins. When the valves do not work correctly, blood collects in your legs and pressure builds up. The veins become weak, large, and twisted. Many women first develop varicose veins during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your blood volume increases. Pressure builds up in the veins as the uterus begins to grow. Veins are passageways for blood to be carried from your extremities to your heart. If these valves are unable to work properly, they become weak, which causes blood to flow backwards. This results in swelling and engorgement of the veins.
Changes in your hormonal levels during pregnancy can also play a role in developing varicose veins.
Can I prevent varicose veins in pregnancy?
Together, weight gain and the increased blood volume adds additional pressure on the veins. Since you can’t control weight gain due to pregnancy, there are a few steps you can take to minimize their impact on your veins.
Some preventative measures include:
- Avoid prolonged standing and sitting
- Sleep on your left side to take strain off the interior vena cava vein
- Keep yours legs elevated
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine to improve your blood circulation
Should I be concerned about developing varicose veins?
About 28 percent of women will develop varicose veins during their pregnancy. Varicose veins may itch or hurt, but are generally harmless in the short term. A small number of women are more at risk for developing blood clots in their veins. If the skin over your varicose veins begins to cause you pain, become discolored, or prone to bleeding, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
What is the treatment of varicose veins after pregnancy?
Varicose veins tend to improve typically 6 to 12 weeks after you give birth. The key is to stay active. Refresh your body with a few stretches or small exercise movements to keep things moving with your circulatory system. Learn how to sit in a healthy way without crossing your legs and remembering to keep your legs elevated while nursing or resting. You can also invest in compression garments. Compression garments provide support for your legs by helping your blood travel back toward the heart instead of remaining in your legs. Many veins can be minimized or eliminated using treatment methods.
If you developed varicose veins during pregnancy that haven’t disappeared, our vein specialists are here to help! Give The Vein Centre a call today at (615) 269-9007!