Varicose veins, or spider veins, are a familiar issue for women during pregnancy. In fact, the Veins Specialist found that 28% of mamas develop varicose veins during pregnancy. Carrying a growing baby, placenta and an expanded uterus is a tough job. Varicose veins are another badge of honour of being a mama-to-be, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to minimise their presence.
Although your chances of developing varicose veins are partly down to genetics, there are a few key natural remedies mamas can use to reduce the likelihood varicose veins during their pregnancy.
In this excerpt from Mama You’ve Got This, an honest guide to pregnancy, Melissa Schweiger Kleinman, offers her advice on varicose veins in pregnancy.
What causes varicose veins during pregnancy?
As if acne wasn’t troublesome enough, enter varicose veins. Another new addition to your pregnancy beauty repertoire. Even if you’ve never had those ropy-looking enlarged veins on your legs before, pregnancy is a prime time for them to appear. So why have your legs transformed into your grandma’s all of a sudden?
There are a bunch of reasons why pregnancy is the perfect storm for varicose veins. Increased blood volume puts extra pressure on your blood vessels, a higher level of the hormone progesterone in your body can cause the veins to dilate or open, and an enlarged uterus can create a roadblock for blood flow from your legs to your heart.
While the most common area for varicose veins is indeed the legs, you might be in for a surprise down there. During pregnancy, your vulva area is susceptible to varicose veins too, so don’t freak out if all of sudden your vagina doesn’t look like itself anymore. The varicose veins in this area can be small and barely detectable or large and bulging. They can definitely cause discomfort, especially when sitting down. The good news is there are some ways to help prevent and treat them during pregnancy.
If all else fails, take heart in knowing that your varicose veins are generally harmless (although they don’t look too attractive) and will likely disappear within the first year after giving birth, once the extra blood pressure decreases. If not, you can always take yourself off to the dermatologist or your doctor for in-office options, such as sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution into the veins to collapse them.
How to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy
The best preventative measures to take against varicose veins include:
• Wearing compression stockings to stimulate blood flow up your legs and towards the heart. Make sure you buy stockings that specifically say “compression” or “pregnancy-safe.”
• Getting daily exercise.
• Keeping your legs elevated.
• Not gaining too much weight.
• Cutting down on your sodium intake in your diet.
• Not crossing your legs whilst sitting.
• Avoid standing or sitting in the same position for too long. If you’re sitting at a desk all day long, make sure to take breaks and stretch out your legs.
• Wearing flats or trainers instead of high heels to improve circulation. Might as well start incorporating comfy shoes into your wardrobe now anyway, as pushing a pram in stilettos is not going to happen.
• Sleeping or laying on your left side.
Plus, get the rest of the guide delivered directly to your inbox each week. From skincare to sex, telling your boss you’re pregnant to maternal mental health, Mama You’ve Got This will help you arm yourself with the knowledge you need to feel confident in all aspects of your pregnancy.
You’ll also receive exclusive offers & gifts, get expert advice and be the first to know about our newest products.