Your body’s veins work hard to return blood to the heart from far-away places like feet and ankles — especially during the day when you’re sitting, standing or walking. Varicose veins, however, are damaged veins that can no longer do this against-gravity work, and instead become stretched and swollen with blood.
Studies show that pregnancy is a common varicose vein agitator, even in someone who has no family history of vein issues. Why does this happen, though?
It has to do with a number of factors that converge during the nine-month period:
- Blood levels increase to support the baby, which puts more pressure on veins
- Progesterone levels also rise, causing the walls of blood vessels to relax.
- As the uterus grows, increased pressure is put on the inferior vena cava—the large vein on the right side of the body—which also increases pressure on leg veins.
Thankfully, it’s common for swollen veins to improve after giving birth, especially if you did not suffer from them before pregnancy. If varicose veins don’t resolve on their own, or if you want to help prevent them from forming during pregnancy, consider doing the following:
- Exercising daily, even if it’s a short walk around the block. Exercise increases blood circulation.
- Elevating legs whenever you can.
- Avoiding standing for long periods of time.
- Sleeping on your left side, with feet propped up on a pillow. Lying on your left side relieves the inferior vena cava of the weight of the uterus.
Varicose veins can become tender and painful when not addressed. Seek the counsel of an experienced phlebologist like Dr. Zimmet so he can evaluate your best treatment options.
Vein care has come a long way and is now minimally invasive. Contact our office today to find out more.