Pregnancy is a very exciting time in a woman’s life, but it can also come with its fair share of aches and pains. Not only does the added weight of pregnancy put pressure on your joints and nerves, it can also affect your veins. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases 30 to 50 percent while the rate at which blood flows from your legs to your pelvis decreases. This change puts added stress on your veins and may lead to varicose veins.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also lead to varicose veins; particularly increased progesterone. Studies suggest pregnant women who develop varicose veins have higher levels of progesterone in their blood as compared to pregnant women who do not have varicose veins.
Tips for reducing your risk of varicose veins during pregnancy
These preventative steps may help you reduce your risk or lessen varicose veins during your pregnancy:
- Avoid sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time.
- Avoid high heels. Opt for a lower heel or flats to keep your calf muscles engaged while you walk to encourage good circulation.
- Get plenty of exercise (but check in with your doctor first, to make sure it’s safe).
- Consult with a vein specialist about maternity support or compression hosiery. These will help stimulate blood flow up the leg and toward the heart. Just be sure the hosiery isn’t too tight, which may cut off circulation.
- Elevate your legs above your heart at least once a day to encourage blood flow back toward the heart.
- Sleep on your left side to alleviate pressure on the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in your body responsible for carrying blood into the heart.
- Stay hydrated and eat plenty of fiber to avoid constipation. Constipation can lead to hemorrhoids, which are swollen, twisted varicose veins found in the rectum.
- Reduce your sodium intake to help minimize swelling of the veins.
If you’re embarrassed by bulging, ropy, varicose veins, contact Carolina Vein Specialists for safe, minimally invasive vein treatment options. We offer skilled treatment for varicose veins in Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Call 336-645-3824 to schedule an appointment.