Due to a combination of physiological factors, many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy.
At the Varicose Vein Clinic in Brisbane, we are dedicated to educating our mothers-to-be on the lifestyle factors that can lead to developing varicose veins during pregnancy. The good news is that understanding the source of varicose veins can reveal key strategies to prevent them! As such, we have compiled a list of preventative and minimising tips you can start implementing right away to help you focus on the joys of pregnancy.
The reason we develop varicose veins during pregnancy
There are three predominant reasons that women may develop varicose veins during pregnancy, these are:
- Elevated progesterone levels causing blood vessel walls and valves to relax, this can make blood pooling more likely.
- Total blood volume increases about 50% during pregnancy. This means a lot more blood to potentially pool in those soft, relaxed vessels.
- The growing uterus exerts pressure on the inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the right atrium of the heart. When the vena cava is compressed, it restricts venous return from the legs.
The development of varicose veins, known technically as Varicosities, can be prevented or minimised during pregnancy by following some simple steps:
Promote healthy circulation – the key is to keep your blood pumping!
It is important to exercise daily to keep your blood pumping and flowing throughout your entire body. This can be as a simple brisk walk for 25 minutes to stimulate healthy circulation. The idea is to keep you moving in and out of multiple body positions while safely elevating your heart rate that pumps blood through every muscle of your body.
- Avoid crossing your legs or ankles while sitting.
- Avoid sitting and standing for long periods of time.
- Be sure to move around every 30-45 minutes to change your body position and increase blood flow
Sleep smart to promote circulation
Avoid lying flat on your back as this can restrict blood flow to the vena cava, which further restricts blood flow to and from the legs.
- Lie on your left side with a pillow between your knees and another between your feet (you can also use a body pillow to provide similar support).
- Switch sides as needed to keep your hips comfortable, but start on the left side when you can because this further decreases pressure on the vena cava.
Compression tights are your best friend!
Wearing compression stockings can reduce the degree of inflammation and swelling you may experience as part of your pregnancy. For best results, put the tights on first thing in the morning and keep them on all day, if possible. Compression stockings are remarkably effective, and are especially useful if you already suffer symptoms of varicose veins. Here at The Varicose Vein Clinic, we stock compression tights and can answer any questions you may have regarding their application, pre and post pregnancy.
Alternative treatments to eliminate varicose veins
All of the above steps can help promote healthy circulation during pregnancy and keep you looking and feeling your best. Although you may develop varicose veins during pregnancy they often disappear on their own a few months after delivery. If however, you find that they do not disappear, we can help you!
At The Varicose Vein Clinic in Brisbane, we offer a range of innovative, effective and safe treatments for the removal of varicose veins, using advanced technology such as Endovenous Laser Ablation (ELA) and Sclerotherapy. These progressive and time efficient treatments can produce optimal results, with little to minimal bruising and discomfort.