One of the things I am getting the chance to know about first hand is varicose veins. I never thought I'd have to deal with this, at least not at my "young" age. But here I am and here they are-present and accounted for on my legs.
In case your not familiar with what exactly varicose veins during pregnancy are or what they look like or even how to treat them...well tighten your seat-belt I am taking you on an educational lesson in varicose veins.
What Are Varicose Veins:
- Varicose veins have a tendency to show up during pregnancy.
- During pregnancy varicose veins are cause by the uterus putting pressure on the large vein on the right side of the body (called inferior vena cava). This causes significant pressure in the legs and thus varicose veins are formed.
- They are blue or purple mostly squiggly like veins.
- They tend to show up mostly on the legs but will often times also appear elsewhere.
- Varicose veins are not necessarily painful. They can range from no discomfort at all to itchy, throbbing, burning, or extremely painful. It all depends.
- Sometimes they cause the legs to feel achy and heavy.
- If you've never had varicose veins before your pregnancy there is a good chance that after you give birth in time they will disappear.
How To Prevent Varicose Veins:
- Exercise DAILY- exercise gets the blood flowing. Which is good!
- Elevate your feet - avoid sitting with your legs or ankles crossed. When sitting use a stool, box, or anything else that is handy to rest your legs on. If you're lying down then make sure to use a pillow to elevate your legs. This will help keep the blood flowing nicely which is VERY important in varicose veins prevention.
- Take Breaks- Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time without moving around.
- Wear Comfy Clothes- Try to avoid clothing that is tight, make sure your clothing doesn't bind especially around the top of your legs. Go for comfy underwear, pants, skirts, shirts, and shoes!
- Support Hose/Graduated-Compression Stockings- Either pair of these are very uncomfortable particularly during the summer but they help prevent varicose veins. Uncomfortable beats painful and ugly varicose veins. The compression stockings are twice as thick as normal support hose and can be bought from the pharmacy. They are loose at the top near your bump and get tighter the lower they go, making it easier for your blood to flow back towards your heart.
- Watch Your Weight- Try to keep your weight gain during pregnancy in the recommended range. This will help avoid putting extra pressure/strain on your circulatory system.
- Avoid Strain- Get help with heavy lifting or if possible avoid it completely. Also avoid straining when using the toilet, constipation is no fun so use remedies for it to avoid hemorrhoids. After all, hemorrhoids are varicose veins in a very uncomfortable place!
- Sleep On The Left Side- Use a pillow behind your back to keep you sleeping on your left side. Your inferior vena cava is on the right side and sleeping on your left helps relieve the vein of pressure and extra weight from the uterus.
How To Treat Varicose Veins:
- Oils- Your Dr. can prescribe certain oils that you can use to rub into your legs and at least temporarily ease the discomfort and pain caused by varicose veins. Always make sure to start at the bottom of your leg and work your way up. This causes the blood to flow towards your heart.
- Cold/Warm Water- Make sure to either take showers or to use the shower head when taking a bath to switch between cold & warm water on your legs. Bathing/showering your legs in a continuous mix of warm then cold water for a few minutes helps get the blood flowing, helping the veins to relax and return to their normal size.
- Elevate Your Legs- Elevate your legs when sitting or laying down. This will take pressure of the veins and at least temporarily ease your discomfort.
- Graduated-Compression Stockings- These are amazing for helping keep varicose veins under control if you already have them. Make sure to take them on in the mornings while your still laying in bed thus avoiding blood pooling in your legs.
I thought I would share some of the recent information I've come across. Maybe it'll help someone just like it has helped me. Ever since I have started developing the first tiny varicose veins on my legs I began researching and talking to my Dr. about what I can do to help avoid aggravating the situation. These were some of the things that my Dr. mentioned and the rest were things I learned while reading about varicose veins online and in pamphlets.
So, now I'm off to go see about my first pair of graduated-compression stockings. Special made for pregnant women, which is great because at least they will come over my belly instead of annoying me by sitting below it. I'll have to let you all know just what my opinion is on these stockings after I receive them next week.
Did you have to deal with varicose veins during your pregnancy? Any tips on how to treat them or prevent them?