Pregnancy can have worrisome effects on women’s bodies in a number of ways and among them are various conditions involving varicose veins. Being pregnant is one of the risk factors for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), venous reflux, and a type of varicose veins that usually goes away after giving birth. Below, learn basics about these conditions as well as some tips for home relief from pregnancy-related varicose veins.
What are Varicose Veins?
To understand what a varicose vein is, it’s helpful to start with an understanding of veins and what they do. Veins are a type of blood vessel, which are tubes that carry blood through the body’s organs and tissues. The specific job of veins is to carry low-oxygen blood from the body to the heart, and the blood in veins only travels in one direction. Venous blood appears dark because it contains hemoglobin in its deoxygenated form.
What Commonly Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are blue veins that have become twisted. They are visible just under the skin and usually occur in the legs, though hemorrhoids are also varicose veins. A common health problem, varicose veins affect close to one-third of all adults. You are more likely to have varicose veins if the condition runs in your family. As previously mentioned, pregnancy is one of the risk factors for developing the “unsightly” condition.
One way varicose veins develop is because blood backs up in our veins and pools as a result of heart valves that don’t open and close properly. If the heart valve becomes incompetent or fails, the blood beings to flow backward, causing swelling that sometimes results in varicose veins.
What Causes Pregnancy-Related Varicose Veins?
When a pregnant woman develops varicose veins, it is usually because added pressure has been placed on the veins by the growing baby. This type of condition typically goes away on its own about three months after giving birth. While recommended treatments of more serious types of varicose veins are administered by physicians, relief from varicose veins can be found with various home remedies.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot has developed in a deep vein. When DVT develops during pregnancy, it is in the left leg 80% of the time. The condition is dangerous because the blood clot could travel to the lungs, which is a potentially life-threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism (PE). Among the women who are at risk, deep vein thrombosis and PE can be prevented and treated.
A basic reason DVT is more common during pregnancy and the postpartum period is because the body naturally increases the level of blood-clotting proteins during pregnancy.
What is Venous Reflux?
Venous reflux is another name for “chronic venous insufficiency (CVI),” and it results from weakened valves caused by various factors, including multiple pregnancies. CVI can also develop in an individual suffering from DVT, and pregnancy is another risk factor. With venous reflux condition, blood flow slows down, causing increasing swelling and pressure in the legs and feet. The more the blood pools in the lower extremities, the more the veins swell.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Pregnancy-related varicose veins that don’t involve blood clots or heart problems are among the mildest types of cases, and they can often be safely treated at home. Mild varicose vein problems can occur in the legs, rectum, and genital area. Symptoms occur at the site of the varicose vein and include:
- Throbbing or burning sensation in the legs
- Legs feel uncomfortably achy or heavy
- Swollen ankles and feet
- Thinner looking skin that feels itchy or dry
Home Remedies for Varicose Veins
There are various home treatments that you can try to get relief from varicose veins during pregnancy. Elevating the feet to or above heart level can help with DVT as well as varicose veins, and more information about this and other home remedies for varicose veins follow.
Keep the Legs Elevated
If a pregnant or postpartum woman with varicose veins has been or is going to sit down for long periods or needs relief from associated symptoms, it helps to elevate the legs to at least the same level as the heart. Doing this reduces the amount of pressure in the leg veins as blood is able to more smoothly flow back to the heart due to gravity.
It’s not always easy to get set up with proper leg elevation. The process of collecting a variety of pillows that will be the correct height can be frustrating and impractical when propping up the legs in more than one place. A portable, remote-controlled airlift system is available to simplify the process of getting situated for leg elevation wherever you might be. More about Upphöja, an innovative Remote-Controlled Leg Lift System, is in the concluding paragraph.
Improving blood circulation is a good way to help with varicose veins and lower blood pressure. It’s best not to put excessive strain on the calves when you have varicose veins. Low-impact exercises that are recommended include walking, swimming, cycling, and doing yoga.
Wear Compression Stockings
Available at most pharmacies, compression stockings help veins move blood to the heart by applying pressure to the feet, ankles, and legs. For aches and pains associated with varicose veins, it’s best to wear knee-high compression socks or stockings of between 18 and 21 mmHg for a week.
Make Dietary Changes
It can help to avoid eating sodium-rich or salty foods that cause the body to retain water. To help reduce water retention, eat high-potassium foods such as:
- Leafy vegetables
- Pistachio nuts and almonds
- White beans and lentils
Hemorrhoids are arguably the most unwelcome type of varicose veins during pregnancy. Keep the bowels moving with a fiber-rich diet that includes whole-grain foods, seeds, nuts, legumes, oats, flaxseed, and wheat.
Wear Non-Restrictive Clothing and Shoes
The clothes you wear could restrict blood flow. For the treatment of varicose veins, avoid clothing that restricts the blood supply in the lower extremities. Avoid wearing high heels; flat shoes can help in the treatment of varicose veins.
Try an Easy Way to Prop Up Your Legs
There’s no quicker, easier way to get relief from varicose veins using simple gravity than by elevating your legs using Upphöja. This innovative Remote-Controlled Leg Lift System weighs less than 5 pounds and can be transported easily wherever you go since it can roll up to 7” x 11”. This innovative solution can make it more convenient than ever for pregnant women to enjoy relief from varicose vein discomfort. Upphöja has a money-back guarantee. So, there is no risk! Order yours today!