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Varicose Veins and Pregnancy

Varicose veins are usually quite harmless but unfortunately quite unsightly. They do tend to fade three to four months after your baby has been born but some do not disappear altogether.

Varicose veins can develop during pregnancy. This is due to the growing uterus putting pressure on the pelvic veins and on the inferior vena cava. The vena cava is a large vein on the right side of the body that receives blood from the legs and the greater part of the pelvic and abdominal organs. This increases blood pressure in the leg veins, which in turn can cause the development of varicose veins.

Due to the increase in the hormone progesterone the walls of the blood vessels relax. This can cause you to just see the blue veins under your skin, or the veins may bulge. It is possible that you may feel some pain and in most cases no discomfort at all. Varicose veins do tend to improve when pregnancy is over.

During pregnancy you're more prone to getting varicose veins in your legs. Although you can get them anywhere. Haemorrhoids, in fact, are technically varicose veins of the rectal area and some women when pregnant develop varicose veins in the vulva (the area around the vagina).

To minimize or prevent varicose veins during pregnancy try not to put too much pressure on your legs.

Try to exercise on a daily basis, even just a brisk walk. Lift you feet and legs up whenever possible. When at home and lying down try to lie down on your left side with your feet elevated on a pillow. As the inferior vena cava is on the right side, left-sided rest relieves it of the weight of the uterus. Try not to stand on your feet too long.

If you have varicose veins that are quite bad then another tip would be to put on special support tights before getting out of bed in the morning . By putting them on before standing, you'll prevent excess blood from gathering in your legs. Keep a clean pair of underwear and your tights under the pillow so you can easily put them on before getting out of bed. If you have a major problem with varicose veins your doctor can prescribe heavy duty tights but they are rather thick and can be uncomfortable in the summer.

Varicose veins can tend to itch or even hurt, but their biggest effect is probably on your vanity. Chronic circulatory problems or blood clots resulting from varicose veins are unlikely. Only about five percent of people who develop varicose veins develop small blood clots in their veins.

If you have a tender, red area on the surface of a varicose vein, a fever, leg pain, or a fast heartbeat, it is best to call your doctor or midwife immediately. In a small percentage of cases, rapid heartbeat and/or shortness of breath could be signs of a pulmonary embolism (when the blood clot has traveled to the lungs). If you experience shortness of breath and a rapid heartbeat, go to the nearest hospital, or ring for an ambulance.

Sometimes varicose veins fade on their own within three or four months after having your baby. But if not and the veins become too uncomfortable to live with, it is possible to have them corrected surgically. If you think you might want surgery, you should probably wait until you've had all the children you want because unfortunately, varicose veins tend to get worse with each pregnancy.