REASONS FOR VARICOSE VEINS DURING PREGNANCY
During pregnancy, the risk of developing varicose veins increases. In women with congenital connective tissue weakness, the problem often worsens. Due to hormonal changes, blood vessels gain elasticity and dilate to transport more blood and provide the uterus with enough blood. The growing uterus also presses on the veins in the pelvic area, slowing the blood flow back to the heart. A kind of blood congestion occurs - the venous valves no longer close properly. As a result, the veins widen and varicose veins form, in most cases on the legs. Yet, varicose veins during pregnancy can also develop on the vulva (so-called vulvar varices or vulvar varicosities) or in the anal region (better known as haemorrhoids). Varicose veins are not only unattractive, they can also cause pain, itching or heavy legs. In the worst case, varicose veins can cause phlebitis (inflammation of a vein) or thrombosis during pregnancy. In this case you should consult a doctor.
VARICOSE VEINS DURING PREGNANCY - TREATMENT
Genetically predisposed varicose veins can only be treated to a limited extent. However, pregnancy-related varicose veins can be prevented or minimised with a few helpful tips.
- Exercise: Sufficient exercise during pregnancy is very important. An extensive walk or bicycle ride stimulates blood circulation in the legs. The blood can be more easily transported to the heart.
- Avoid sitting & standing for long periods: Try to put your legs up as often as possible. Place your legs higher during sleep to promote blood return.
- Do not cross your legs: Stretch your legs out or place them on a stool, etc. This will prevent the blood from accumulating in the blood vessels.
- Contrast showers or cold showers: Shower your legs alternately warm and cold. This stimulates the blood circulation in the legs. Cold showers are even more effective - the veins contract as a result.
- Give up high heels: Wear flat, comfortable shoes and be barefoot in between.
- Avoid overweight: Keep your weight gain during pregnancy within reasonable limits. Severe overweight can promote varicose veins.
- Compression stockings: Your doctor can prescribe compression stockings for severe varicose veins. These relieve the veins & stimulate the blood flow. Note: Compression stockings are also suitable during the puerperium period to reduce the risk of thrombosis.
Note: Special support aids for pregnant women, such as our GraviBody® maternity support belt can help with vulvar varicose veins during pregnancy. GraviBody® offers a compression, i.e. a counterpressure in the perineal area. The special arrangement of the straps also reduces the weight pressure on the vaginal muscles.
VARICOSE VEINS AFTER BIRTH
Varicose veins usually recede up to six months after birth. The hormonal balance has normalised and the extra weight of the uterus is eliminated. After this time, an appointment with your gynaecologist is recommended. If the varicose veins have not completely disappeared after this time, your gynaecologist can refer you to a vascular specialist.
Do you also suffer from symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)? In our article Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) you will find helpful tips to relieve the pain.