You will see plenty of changes to your body during those nine months of pregnancy. Some, like your expanding uterus, probably won’t be much of a surprise. Others, like the formation of swollen veins snaking up your lower legs, might be more unexpected. Why do varicose veins occur during pregnancy and is there anything you can do to prevent those swollen vessels?
The Lowdown on Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are a visible sign of an underlying vein problem. Lower leg veins, which are taxed with the difficult job of pushing blood back up the body to the heart, are vulnerable to damage over time. Valves inside the veins that keep blood flowing in a single direction can become damaged or simply wear out, allowing blood to pool back inside the vessel. When this pooling or reflux occurs, it can lead to weakened veins, swelling and varicosity over time.
3 Strikes against You
There are a number of reasons why varicose veins are more prevalent during the nine months of pregnancy:
- Increased blood flow to support the growing fetus also means more pressure inside vessels, which could increase your risk for damage and varicosity.
- Additional hormones work by relaxing blood vessels to allow for greater blood flow, but can also lead to weaker vessels.
- The expanding uterus can place additional pressure on lower leg veins, making them more vulnerable to the development of varicose veins.
There is no way to stop these processes from occurring, since they are essential to the healthy growth of your baby. However, there are some steps you can take to counter the effect of these processes on your lower leg veins and possibly reduce your risk for developing varicose veins.
Taking Charge of Your Veins
Whether you are concerned about preventing varicose veins or want to manage uncomfortable symptoms of swollen veins that have already developed, we have a few tips for you:
- Elevate your legs at the end of the day to give hard-working leg veins a break
- Avoid long periods of sitting or standing – take frequent breaks
- Consider wearing compression stockings to assist the leg veins in moving blood up the leg
- Maintain a high-fiber diet to prevent strain on your lower leg veins due to constipation
- Wear loose clothing to avoid undue pressure on the lower leg veins
While these steps may help to lower your risk for varicose veins or reduce symptoms of varicose veins that have formed, they will not reverse the condition once it occurs. Fortunately, many women find that varicose veins disappear on their own within a few months after their baby is born. Others may discover their swollen veins persist and have to seek treatment to eliminate the veins and their symptoms for good.
The Good News
Even if your varicose veins don’t resolve after your pregnancy, you can say goodbye to those unattractive, uncomfortable vessels with minimal discomfort and downtime involved. At the Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin, we offer a wide range of minimally-invasive vein treatments to eliminate varicose veins without disrupting your daily routine. Procedures are typically performed on an outpatient basis and patients are generally back to their regular activities the same day or the day after treatment.
If varicose veins are lingering after your pregnancy, help is available. To find out which vein treatment will work the best for you by calling the Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin at 800-910-8346 today.