During pregnancy, the blood volume in your body increases, putting pressure on your blood vessels. That’s why varicose veins can appear – they’re nothing more than dilated blood vessels.
Because of pressure from the uterus, it’s harder for the blood to travel from the legs to the pelvic area. That’s how varicose veins usually appear on the legs, but they can also show up on your rear or your vaginal area during pregnancy. Piles are also a type of varicose veins and often occur in pregnant women due to constipation.
Generally, varicose veins don’t cause any health problems, but they can be itchy and unsightly. The good news is that they fade within a year after the birth.
Prevention is the best treatment
Varicose treatment is exclusively surgical. So, it’s much easier to prevent varicose veins than it is to treat them. Some simple measures can help:
- Avoid standing or sitting for too long in the same position;
- Avoid wearing heels;
- Avoid wearing stockings with an elastic band, which may prevent blood circulation. You can wear compression stockings though as they improve the blood circulation in the legs by compressing the dilated vessels;
- Avoid hot baths, waxing and exposure to the sun;
- Avoid crossing your legs;
- Lift your legs regularly so that the blood doesn’t stagnate – lie down on the ground and lift your feet against the wall;
- Sleep on your left side;
- Reduce your salt consumption;
- Drink plenty of water and consume enough fibre to prevent constipation and piles;
- Exercise daily. Aim for around 30-60 minutes of walking.
Although having varicose veins doesn’t endanger the pregnancy, keep an eye on them. If they swell, get red, bleed or get hot, contact your doctor immediately. Do the same if the leg skin changes colour or thickens.