Venous issues are a common, usually harmless part of pregnancy for some women, caused by significant changes in the body. During pregnancy, the mother’s blood volume can increase by 30-50% to support the growing fetus. The body also produces extra progesterone, a hormone that dilates the blood vessels. Additionally, the uterus can apply pressure to the inferior vena cava — a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood back to the heart from your legs and feet.
Combined, all of these changes can cause valves to trap blood back in the veins, which can result in varicose or spider veins, or venous insufficiency. If you’re wondering how you can alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by these conditions, here are a few ways you can keep the aches away.
Wear maternity support hose or compression stockings to help prevent swelling. These stockings are tight at the ankle and get looser as they go up the leg, which makes it easier for blood to flow toward the heart. Put them on before you get out of bed and keep them on all day to help prevent blood from pooling in your legs.
Elevate your feet and legs above heart level whenever possible. Gravity helps the blood drain out of the leg veins and toward the heart. Try putting a pillow under your feet when in bed to help the blood flow while you rest. This is a great way to improve circulation and keep your vascular system healthy during pregnancy.
Doctors at a vein clinic in Phoenix recommend that exercising daily and staying within the recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy can also help ease pain related to varicose veins. To learn more about how you can alleviate discomfort caused by vein conditions during pregnancy, see the accompanying infographic.
Exercising daily and staying within the recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy can also help ease pain related to varicose veins. To learn more about how you can alleviate discomfort caused by vein conditions during pregnancy, see the accompanying infographic.
Author bio: Dr. Yan Katsnelson is the founder of USA Vein Clinics, the largest, national network of vein treatment centers committed to improving lives through minimally invasive treatments of venous insufficiency. USA Vein Clinics specializes in the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins through endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), ClariVein, Varithena vein treatment, ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, and sclerotherapy injections.
Graphic created by USA Vein Clinics.