During pregnancy, women may undergo several skin changes including acne, skin darkening, itchiness, rashes, stretch marks, skin tags and varicose veins. If varicose veins run in your family history, then you are more likely to get them or see them get worse during pregnancy.
The reason why pregnancy triggers or aggravates varicose veins is due to your growing uterus, which adds pressure to the veins in your lower body. The amount of blood in pregnant women also increases, further burdening the veins that serve to bring the blood back to the heart. Finally, as your progesterone levels increase, the walls of the blood vessels tend to relax, making them more likely to expand and swell.
To minimize the symptoms during pregnancy, you may try the following:
1. Get lots of rest. Given the changes in your body, your blood circulation isn’t as good as it normally is. The pressure on your legs and veins is much greater than before. It is advisable to avoid exerting your body and adding further pressure on your legs.
2. Sleep on your left side. The inferior vena cava, the vein that carries the largest amount of blood through our body, is located on the right side. Sleeping on the left side will lessen the pressure on this vein.
3. Put your feet up. Elevating your feet will increase blood flow. When your legs start to feel tired and sore, elevate them on a table or chair. Sleep with you feet on a pillow.
4. Wear maternity support hose. Try to put them on before standing up from your bed to prevent blood from pooling in your legs. If you need to take a shower as soon as you get up, return to bed and elevate your feet for a while before putting on the support hose. Just note that wearing a maternity support hose can get uncomfortable in hot weather.
5. Exercise. Walking can increase blood flow and circulation.
The good news is that many find that they disappear or subside four to five months after delivery. If, however, they continue to be very uncomfortable and problematic, you can consult a doctor and discuss your options, including having the varicose veins surgically removed.
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