Now that you’re pregnant, are you wondering if you’ll get varicose veins? Did you have varicose veins during your previous pregnancy? Or maybe your sister or mother had varicose veins when they were pregnant and, now you’re wondering how to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are bulging, twisted veins that usually appear on your legs. They are generally blue or purple and you can feel them right under the surface of the skin.
Veins do not have strong muscles to move blood forward, and they rely on one-way valves and leg muscles to help move blood back to the heart. When the valves are incompetent, blood can build up in the leg veins. This increased pressure forces the walls of the veins to bulge.
If you haven’t already experienced it, pregnancy causes many changes in your body. And some of these changes can cause varicose veins. ii
Now that you understand why you’re more likely to get varicose veins when you’re pregnant, let’s look at what you can do to help prevent them.
7 Tips on How to Help Prevent Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
If you are wondering how to help prevent varicose veins during pregnancy, keep in mind that many of the things you can do to prevent varicose veins will also help relieve their symptoms. Remember that even if you do everything you can to prevent them, you may still get varicose veins during your pregnancy. Take comfort in knowing that varicose veins that appear during pregnancy will most likely resolve within a few months, usually around 3, post-partum. i And if they don’t resolve on their own, there are safe, minimally invasive procedures performed by vascular specialists which treat varicose veins and don’t involve surgery. Talk to your obstetrician about your varicose veins to see if there is anything else you can be doing.
i National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Who Is at Risk for Varicose Veins? https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vv/atrisk (updated 1/29/2016, accessed 11/30/2016)
ii Mayo Clinic, Varicose veins and pregnancy: Legs and more. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-blog/varicose-veins-and-pregnancy/bgp-20055799 (reviewed 4/10/2013, accessed 12/12/2016)
iii American Pregnancy Association, Treating Varicose Veins Naturally During Pregnancy. http://americanpregnancy.org/naturally/treating-varicose-veins-naturally-during-pregnancy/ (reviewed 9/2/2016, accessed 12/15/2016)