Among the many side effects that women experience during pregnancy, varicose veins are some of the most common as the increasing weight of the growing baby and uterus puts addition pressure on the large inferior vena cava vein which carries blood from the heart to the legs and feet.
When the blood flow to these areas becomes a struggle, the veins become strained and varicose veins are often the result. Though more often than not, varicose veins pose no danger to health, if not treated they may increase the chances for some more serious conditions and discomfort.
Despite what many suggest, varicose veins are almost impossible to prevent and are usually hereditary, so if a mother or a grandmother has varicose veins or acquired some while pregnant, the daughter or granddaughter’s chance of developing varicose veins of their own is heightened.
The most common areas for varicose vein development are on the legs on the backs of the knees, the thighs or around the ankles or on top of the feet though they are known to occur elsewhere, particularly where the physical stresses of pregnancy are concerned.
Though the occurrence of varicose veins isn’t really preventable, there are some things a pregnant woman can do to help with the discomfort and appearance of varicose veins until she is able to have them treated by a vein specialist.
Exercise that is monitored by a doctor can help with circulation of the legs and feet which will in turn improve the appearance of varicose veins as well as help prevent them from getting worse. With circulation being key, it’s a good idea to prop feet up whenever possible keeping them elevated and free from too much weight and pressure. Women can also make an effort to sleep on their left side because the inferior vena cava vein is on the right side of the body and doing so will help prevent further pressure on that vein. Be sure to take breaks after prolonged sitting or standing so that the body can rest and recuperate from being in one position for too long.
In the long run, a vein specialist is the best resource for ridding a woman of her varicose veins after pregnancy and there are a number of treatments available for doing just that, though the best course of action should be determined by a vein specialist. Varicose veins that aren’t treated can lead to ulcerations, sores, and clots within the vein.