Going by statistics, about double the women suffer from varicose veins than men due to factors such as hormones (estrogen, contraceptive pills) and pregnancies. Additionally, women mostly have jobs, which require them to stand on their feet for long hours. Hence getting varicose veins during pregnancy is quite common.
What Causes Varicose Veins during Pregnancy
Pregnancy is considered one of the biggest accelerating factors for the disease. During pregnancy, extra volume of blood is produced to support two growing bodies. This increases the pressure from the growing uterus on the inferior vena cava, the bodies big vein that in turn puts pressure on the blood vessels, especially the veins of the legs. Now Blood from the legs normally have to work against gravity to reach the heart. The pressure from the burgeoning uterus on the pelvic blood vessels worsens this situation and increased progesterone hormone level causes the veins to dilate and blood to pool. The cumulative effect of it is varicose veins that usually shows up in legs but can sometimes manifest in vulva or as hemorrhoids.
While Varicose Veins cannot be stopped from occurring but steps can be taken to minimize its effect during pregnancy:
- Keep your leg in elevated position- As often as possible; the legs should be kept raised at a level higher than the level of the heart. This eases the blood pressure and improves circulation.
- Change posture and position- If your daily profile-demanding sitting or standing at a stretch, you must change position by either taking walks in between or sitting and taking rest as the case might be. This ensures proper blood circulation and eases discomfort.
- Weight Monitoring- It is very easy to gain excessive weight during pregnancy, which in turns put additional pressure on veins. Hence, it should be kept in check.
- Use Support- Wearing a pantyhose or thigh high support hose can provide extra support and help in improving circulation, which brings about relief. If there is discomfort in the vulva, a support garment specially designed for tackling varicose veins in the vulva should be used.
- Avoid Constipation- A high fiber diet and plenty of fluids will obstruct constipation and ease unnecessary pressure from the veins. If required, stool softener should be taken.
It is important to remember that varicose veins, which appear during pregnancy normally, disappear within a few months to a year after the pregnancy is over. One should simply discuss any distress or discomforts with the doctor to ensure a healthy and happy pregnancy.