Varicose veins can unfortunately lead to a wide variety of unpleasant symptoms, from aching and heaviness of the legs to itching and burning over the affected vein. The development of varicose veins is a common part of pregnancy for many women, especially those with genetic predispositions. Varicosities during pregnancy are typically due to the increased pressure that the growing uterus applies to the inferior vena cava, or the vein that returns blood from the legs to the heart. This applied pressure in turn increases the pressure on the leg veins, which already must work hard against the forces of gravity to return blood back up the legs. The increase in progesterone and blood volume during pregnancy can also contribute to the development or exacerbation of varicosities.
For women whose mothers or grandmothers developed varicose veins during their pregnancies, there is an increased likelihood that they, too, will develop them. Fortunately there are ways to reduce your likelihood of experiencing varicose veins that will also help to alleviate the symptoms if they have already developed. Consider the following tips to help prevent the development of varicose veins during pregnancy.
- Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Move around as much as possible—when taking breaks, avoid crossing your legs while sitting.
- Try to fit low-impact physical activity into your daily routine. Developing the muscles in your legs and moving around often will facilitate venous return (blood returning to the heart).
- Elevate your feet frequently. This will help blood return to the heart.
- Sleep on your left side. This will help to reduce the pressure applied to the inferior vena cava, which is located on the right side of the body.
Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy will often improve after delivery, but they can persist. If you are looking for expert treatment for varicose or spider veins, contact the helpful staff of Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan by calling (212) 204-6501.