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Pregnancy is a period where a woman's body undergoes a sea of changes. With these changes, comes a sea of complications as well. To make things worse, every woman's pregnancy widely differs from another woman's. So, there is no sure shot way of knowing whether whatever you may be going through is normal or not. In cases like these, we are here to help.
We at Boldsky, bring an array of articles that help you with as much wide and accurate information as possible, in order to make your ordeal easier. In this article, we will be discussing yet another problem faced by women during pregnancy: varicose veins.
It often happens that women may suffer from various problems during their pregnancy, which they may have never faced before in their lifetime. If you are the one who has heard of varicose veins but probably never suffered from it until your pregnancy, this article will provide you with information regarding the causes of varicose veins during pregnancy and how to prevent it.
What Are Varicose Veins?
In order to understand varicose veins, let us briefly look into the functions of veins in particular. The veins in our body are the blood vessels that are responsible for the blood flow from different parts of the body to our heart.
When there is excess pressure on these veins, they enlarge and may bulge out of the skin's surface, which may give them a bluish or purple colour. This condition is commonly known as varicose veins and majorly affects the veins in the legs and feet.
Varicose veins provide mild discomfort but are mainly abhorred by us as they are unsightly. During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood flow to the heart. However, the rate of blood flowing from our legs and pelvis decreases. This puts undue pressure on the veins, causing it to swell.
Causes Of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
The condition of varicose veins may worsen if you are already suffering from it before your pregnancy. However, not all women suffer from varicose veins during pregnancy, if you did not suffer from the condition previously. But if you have been noticing these blue and purple veins of your legs lately, it is most commonly due to the pressure of your growing uterus.
The veins in your legs are responsible for carrying blood to the heart. During pregnancy, there is an increase in the volume of your blood. But the blood flowing from your legs to the pelvis decreases. While this is designed to help the foetus grow, it results in enlarged veins in the legs.
Another reason is the growth of the foetus. The growing uterus puts extra pressure on the large vein situated on the right side of your body. This in turns puts pressure on the veins in your legs, resulting in their swelling. This means that this condition will worsen as and when your weight increases or if you are carrying twins or more.
Varicose veins during pregnancy are also caused due to the increase in the production of progesterone, which relaxes the walls of your blood vessels, causing them to swell.
Can Varicose Veins Burst?
With so much pressure on the varicose veins, it is common to wonder if they can suddenly rupture. But our bodies are designed to take care of such issues during pregnancy. Varicose veins in the legs are often harmless and do not rupture or cause any serious issues on their own during pregnancy. It is, however, important to manage them in the right way so as to avoid any kind of discomfort to you.
In extreme cases, varicose veins may affect other parts of your body during pregnancy, such as the vulva. Though there are known cases of varicose veins in the vulva rupturing during pregnancy causing bleeding, a small surgery may help treat it, with no effects whatsoever on the delivery process or the baby.
How To Treat Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a result or circulatory changes in the body. Though there is not much you can do to treat it, you can certainly do a lot to manage it. Here are some ways in which you can manage varicose veins naturally during pregnancy-
- Not enough emphasis can be laid on the benefits of walking during pregnancy. It works as a miracle in managing varicose veins as well. It helps improve circulation and relieves the stress on the veins of your legs.
- Avoid crossing your legs while sitting as it may further aggravate the condition. It is also important not to retain one particular position for a long time such as sitting or standing. Frequent position change will help normalise the blood flow.
- Elevating your feet onto a pillow will let gravity do the job naturally.
- It is important to manage your weight during pregnancy as an increase in weight will increase the pressure on your veins and make it worse.
- Compression socks or stockings may also help manage the situation. These stockings are tight around the ankles and gradually loosen upwards, which makes it easier for the blood to flow up.
- The easiest way to manage varicose veins is to sleep on your left side. This removes the pressure on the vein of the leg, decreasing the symptoms of varicose veins.
Complications Of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Varicose veins developed during pregnancy may be itchy or hurt a little. But they are usually harmless. They may look unsightly, though. However, there are extreme cases where varicose veins lead to small blood clots near the skin's surface. This may make the veins, redder and painful.
Sometimes, the area around the clot gets infected. One sure shot sign of it is if you develop a fever. Further, one of the legs may swell severely or the skin around the veins changes colour. This is the time when you have to visit the doctor to avoid further complications.
Normal cases of varicose veins developed during pregnancy may need no treatment at all. It is advised you manage the condition by any of the methods mentioned above. The symptoms usually subside after three to four months of delivery.