Pregnancy is an exciting time for many moms-to-be, but in addition to the excitement, some women may notice their body changing in unexpected ways. Swollen feet, weight gain, an aching back, and even varicose veins are issues some women experience during pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and notice varicose veins, you may be wondering what to do. The good news is that varicose veins usually disappear a few months after giving birth. But why do you get them at all? What causes varicose veins in expectant mothers?
What Causes Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body is working hard to support both you and your baby. The extra blood your body produces puts increasing pressure on your blood vessels and veins, especially those in your legs. The blood vessels have to work harder to push the blood to your heart.
Your body is also producing more progesterone, which relaxes the walls of your veins making them more susceptible to swelling and bulging. The veins on your legs may look swollen as a result.
Varicose veins during pregnancy can be bothersome, and cause symptoms like swollen feet and ankles, sore leg muscles, leg cramps, and discoloration. About 40% of pregnant women experience these symptoms at some point during their pregnancy.
How to Get Rid of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and concerned about your varicose veins, be sure to talk to your doctor about what you can do to relieve any discomfort you have. Surgery and minimally invasive procedures that treat varicose veins are avoided during pregnancy, but there are ways to manage your varicose veins while you are pregnant.
- Get Moving: Exercise is a great way to increase blood flow and reduce some of the discomfort that come with pregnancy. Discuss exercise options with your obstetrician before starting an exercise routine.
- Go with the Flats: Pregnancy is the perfect time to ditch the high heels. Opt for shoes that are flat and comfortable and save the high heels for when you are no longer pregnant.
- Rest Comfortably: As your uterus grows larger during pregnancy, it becomes more difficult to sleep on your back or on your stomach. When settling in for bed, sleep on your left side. This will reduce some of the pressure on the veins in your abdomen allowing blood to flow to your legs at night.
- Skip the Salt: Sodium is one of the key culprits that causes water retention. Fluid retention puts added pressure on veins in the body, so skip the salt during pregnancy.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
Like any changes to your body during pregnancy, let your doctor know immediately if you have varicose veins. Your doctor will be able to help you with methods to ease any discomfort you are experiencing.
Most varicose veins will disappear a few months after birth and your body will be back to its pre-pregnancy self soon! If varicose veins do not go away after three months, you may want to reach out to a vascular specialist who can determine a treatment plan.
Compassionate Care for Varicose Veins After Pregnancy
Dr. Mathai and the team at Premier Vein Specialists strive to treat varicose veins safely and compassionately. Dr. Mathai offers free screenings from the York and Hanover offices, so you understand the treatment options available. Most procedures are even covered by insurance. If you are still suffering from varicose veins months after your pregnancy, reach out today to schedule your free screening. Dr. Mathai is here to help.
Make an appointment for a free consultation at Premier Vein Specialists for answers to more specific questions about your condition: Click to contact us for a free screening or call (717) 412-7226.