For many women, discovering they’re pregnant is followed by a less exciting discovery: the development of varicose veins in pregnancy. For reasons that make sense but do not make them easier to take, up to 50% of pregnant women have aberrant dilatation, or enlargement, in the superficial veins of their legs and lower extremities during pregnancy. And of course, it’s not a great experience. So what are varicose veins in pregnancy?
What are varicose veins?
Weakening vein valves are the root cause of varicose veins. When the valves are malfunctioning, blood builds up in your legs and pressure increases. The veins enlarge, weaken, and twist. Many people have their first varicose veins when pregnant. An additional typical pregnant illness that might result from this is swelling and pain in the legs or feet.
What causes varicose veins in pregnancy?
In pregnancy, varicose veins are typical. The body’s blood volume rises by up to 20% during pregnancy but the number of veins stays constant, placing an increased burden on the vascular system. When the uterus starts to develop, pressure builds up in the veins. Blood can travel through veins from your extremities to your heart. Blood flows backward when these valves are weak and unable to function correctly. The veins expand and become engorged as a result.
Varicose veins can also arise from hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Hormones such relaxin, progesterone, and estrogen have an impact on veins. Your veins’ valves weaken as a result of the pregnancy-related rise in these hormones. All of these elements combine to form a vicious cycle whereby dilated veins are back pressed on valves, which reduces the effectiveness of the valve and causes varicose veins in pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins in pregnancy?
In the legs, varicose veins appear as elevated, bluish-purple veins that are twisted and big. The back of the calves or the inside of the legs are where they frequently emerge. They could lead to:
- Heavy feeling in your legs.
- Itching around the veins.
- Leg cramps.
- Pain, aching, throbbing or tenderness in your lower legs.
- Swelling (edema) in the legs and ankles.
Venous insufficiency is a rare condition. The skin starts to deteriorate because the veins are unable to adequately deliver the blood to the heart. Other uncommon circumstances include vein irritation, which can result in excruciating pain and blood clots.
Ways to reduce varicose vein in pregnancy and avoid making the veins worse:
- If you must stand or sit for an extended period of time, get up often and walk about.
- Never sit with your legs crossed.
- Lift your feet often.
- Wear a support hose for pregnancy. To assist in pushing the blood back toward the heart, these unique pantyhose gently compress the leg muscles and constrict the veins.
- Avoid wearing tight socks or knee-highs that press on a specific area of the leg since this might restrict blood flow.
- Get regular low-impact exercise if your doctor approves.
- To relieve pressure from your inferior vena cava, which is located on the right side of the body, sleep on your left side.
- Call your doctor if you feel any firm, heated, or painful veins or if the skin around them seems red.
After giving birth, when the uterus is no longer pressing on the inferior vena cava, varicose veins frequently become better.