Pregnancy comes with so many things to consider, and Centers for Vein Care is here to help you with at least one of these thoughts: varicose veins. Many women worry about varicose veins during pregnancy, but do you know why they occur? Or how? Dr. Keerthi Prasad and Dr. Monish Merchant, the interventional radiologists at Centers for Vein Care, have a few ways to help you try and avoid varicose veins during your pregnancy.
Varicose veins are caused by unhealthy valves inside the veins that hinder the normal flow of blood back to the heart. Blood pools in the veins, enlarging and distorting them. There are many factors that may increase your risk of developing varicose veins, such as:
- Family history
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Prolonged standing
- Obesity or excess weight
- Current or previous pregnancies
During pregnancy, increased blood volume and growth of the uterus put additional pressure on the veins in your legs—increasing your risk of developing varicose veins. Here are a few things you can do to minimize this condition during pregnancy.
Increasing your vitamin C intake is a big help.
A diet rich in vitamin C will help your body produce collagen and elastin. These are the two connective tissues that play an integral part in repairing blood vessels. Try adding some more of these foods to your daily meals for a great source of vitamin C: oranges, broccoli, berries, and tomatoes.
Wear comfy clothes so that blood flow is not restricted.
Next time you are looking in your closet for something to wear, move past the tight belts, skinny jeans, and elastic shirt. Consider wearing loose garments so that your blood flow is not restricted, thus making varicose veins harder to form. Dress for comfort, your body will thank you in the long run.
Incorporate compression socks into your wardrobe.
Compression socks are designed to encourage blood flow to go back up toward your heart instead of down to your legs. You also hear soon-to-be moms complaining about swollen feet: compression socks can help by reducing the inflammation. For the best results, put them on as soon as you wake up. It’s also a good idea to continue wearing them after pregnancy.
Watch your weight gain.
You are going to gain weight with pregnancy, but you don’t want it to be excessive. The combination of excessive weight gain and the increased blood volume puts additional pressure on the veins in your legs. This makes it more likely that you will develop dilated, swollen veins. Keeping your weight gain within normal, recommended limits provided by your doctor is one of the best tips for preventing your risk for varicose veins during pregnancy.
Walking and low-intensity exercises can improve your circulation. Before starting an exercise routine, it’s important to consult your doctor.
The good news... once your baby arrives, the leg issues you had during pregnancy typically get better with time. If you do not see improvement after several months, contact Centers for Vein Care to discuss the treatment option that’s best for you.
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