Women who are pregnant are often told to watch out for varicose veins during their early pregnancy. It happens when the uterus starts to apply more pressure to the inferior vena cava, or the large vein on the right side of the body that is the main highway to get blood back to the heart from the veins in the feet or legs.
They can be painful, itchy, and uncomfortable. Though these bulging veins are often found in the legs, they can also be found in the genital area and the rectum.
You are more likely to have varicose veins during your pregnancy if your mother and grandmother had them because it is inherited. According to vein doctors at the Metro Vein Centers like Dr. Hugh Pabarue, varicose veins happen because of the progesterone levels in the body during pregnancy. This increases while pregnant, causing your veins to relax their walls. Also, your body starts producing more blood while you are pregnant, causing your veins to become overburdened.
Luckily, varicose veins improve after the birth of your child because your hormones go back to normal and your body reduces the volume of blood. However, if they do not get better, you might want to consult a vein doc at the Metro Vein Centers.
How to prevent pregnancy varicose veins
Varicose veins that occur during pregnancy can be prevented if you do not have a genetic predisposition to getting them.
One of the best ways to reduce your chances of getting varicose veins during pregnancy is to exercise every day. Of course, as your pregnancy develops, you will need to modify your exercise. However, even a simple twenty-minute walk can be enough to improve your cardiovascular and vein health. Exercising prevents your veins from getting too weak and keeps your blood moving.
It is also important to elevate your feet above your heart to help the blood flow back to the heart. It is difficult for the blood in your feet and legs to get back to the heart because your veins have to work against gravity. However, when you lift your feet above your heart, the blood can flow without placing too much strain on your veins.
You also need to stop crossing your legs or ankles. Crossing your legs can prevent your blood from circulating properly in the legs. It can also contribute to leg cramps and swelling in the legs. It also raises your blood pressure causing venous insufficiency. This means that the blood gets backed up in the vein, causing it to collect and bulge.
Are varicose veins during pregnancy dangerous?
Though most varicose veins are extremely unsightly, they are often harmless in the short term. They may itch or cause some pain or swelling, but they generally do not cause any significant harm. There is also treatment available from a vein doc like Dr. Hugh Pabarue at the Michigan Metro Vein Centers.
There is a small chance that it is a dangerous symptom of a worse disease. If you have blood clots that are close to the surface of the skin, which happen in people who have varicose veins, it can lead to serious consequences. The vein can feel rope-like and hard. It will also be hot or painful to the touch.
Blood clots can become serious so make sure you speak to your healthcare provider if you believe you have blood clots. If you experience sores on your legs, extremely swollen legs or have veins that change color near the skin’s surface, make sure you contact your doctor. You may need an ultrasound to determine if you have DVT.