Vein Conditions and Pregnancy – Understanding the Link
A woman’s body undergoes many physiological changes during pregnancy, and women often develop varicose veins, or find an existing vein condition gets worse during pregnancy. As the uterus gets larger, it puts pressure on the inferior vena cava – the large vein on the right side of the body - which in turn increases pressure on veins in the legs. The amount of blood in a woman’s body also increases during pregnancy, adding to demands on the blood vessels. Progesterone levels rise, causing the walls of the blood vessels to relax, further distending the veins and contributing to the foot and leg swelling commonly seen in pregnancy. In addition to varicose veins in pregnancy and spider veins in pregnancy frequently develop. Veins in the breast may also become more visible as the breasts become larger and the body increases the blood supply to the area. Carrying twins also increases the vein problems during pregnancy. Fortunately, the symptoms and appearance of varicose veins usually improve after giving birth, especially among women who didn’t have these vein problems prior to their pregnancy.
Minimizing Vein Problems in Pregnancy
Pregnancy and varicose veins need not go together. You can prevent or minimize their occurrence through simple methods. Daily exercise, even a simple brisk walk around the block, can help your circulation. Do your best to keep within your recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy. Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible, and keep your feet on a pillow when lying down. Don’t cross your legs or ankles when sitting, and don’t sit or stand for long periods without changing position and moving around. Sleep on your left side, if possible, and wear surgical hose. The board certified specialists at The Vein Center have helped many women deal with varicose and spider veins before, during and after their pregnancies.